CYBERTORIAL* For brands battling with the flux of the youth market’s brand decisions, a recent study across SA universities on students’ relationship with brands suggests a gender gap exists between male and female students and how they make brand choices.
Student Village has completed the first Res Room Research Study looking at brands that guys and girls are using and why, ahead of its annual Y!CON 2016 Conference. This week we uncover seven surprising differences between male and female students.
- Shopping – It’s no secret students love to shop for nice things and are always saving up for their next big purchase. Surprisingly though, the study found guys shop for affluent brands like Nike while girls are more concerned about the stores they shop at like Mr Price and Cotton On. Certain stores and brands in both respects serve students’ image which is why it’s critical that they associate with the right brands.
- Necessities – Girls shop for a greater variety of groceries and consumables than guys. It could be seen in their cupboards and fridges that girls stocked way more brand options than guys. The guys were living the simple life however with more essential items along the lines of butter, bread and milk.
- Bling – Male students hardly wear any other jewellery than watches and it’s all about the brands. The women, however appeared to own a great variety of jewellery such as rings, bangles, necklaces and to them it isn’t as important where these are bought from. Quantity seems to be more important than quality with girls looking to get more bang for their buck whilst still being conscious of getting value for money.
- Clothing – Mr Price emerged as the most popular brand with female students however guys did not love Mr Price as much as the girls because of their attraction to branded, statement clothing. Guys’ top three brands revealed in the research included Nike, Adidas and Levis.
- Shoes – When it comes to footwear, guys kit themselves out with a brand and will match their clothing in the urge to complete their look. Guys especially prefer Nike as their brand of choice with Nike Jordans being the most popular kick in guys’ closets whereas Converse came up as females’ preferred brand. Girls were much less likely to match brands they wear and instead take interest in statement outfit pieces from various retailers and brands, with shoes of course being one of these.
- Body products – Male students love cologne and are using multiple brands. Hugo Boss and Paco Rabanne came up most popular in cologne whilst Shield was number one in deodorant. The top perfume brand for females was Zara. Though their love for fragrance is shared, female students had a much greater range of body products in their stash.
- Technology – When it comes to laptops, HP is an all-round favourite, coming in at number one with both guys and girls, but where guys loved Dell as their second choice, it rated much lower with females who liked Lenovo instead. As for sound systems, guys are much more into this type of tech with headphones, subwoofers and speakers being the most frequently found items in their rooms. Creative stood out as the most popular sound system brand.
Tying up the ends
Studying brands in student res rooms is about more than identifying the brands students are using. Rather it begs the question – Should brand managers be grinding their teeth at the reality of sharing space with so many other brands? No amount of meticulous planning will take into account all possible outcomes your brand will have with the youth as students are a complex group of individuals with ever changing needs.
What brands do need to master however is getting stuck into student culture and understanding how the market moves in order to grow with it, so that instead of simply fitting into student res rooms – brands stand out!
If you loved this research, there’s more! Catch the latest research on SA’s student market at, Y!CON 2016, coming on 17 March in Johannesburg, where Student Village is offering a unique marketing insight into SA’s youth market. Click here to secure your space at the most coveted youth event for marketers this year!
CYBERTORIAL* is sponsored content.
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