Study reveals surprising shifts in student spending

It seems that young people are swapping wine for the weights. A new survey reveals student spending on alcohol has hit an all-time low, whilst health and fitness spending has soared.

Perhaps this is not so surprising given the fact more 16-24 year olds are teetotal than before. However, the surge in interest in health and fitness is less anticipated.

The average monthly expenditure on health and fitness has quadrupled. Students are now spending an average of £120 on gym memberships, fitness classes, or sports clubs to keep active. This contrasts with the average £33 for previous graduates over the last twenty years.

However these statistics have not shocked some UEA students. Chloe Wint, a UEA politics second year acknowledges this: “I’m not surprised at all. The growth of social media has put fitness onto a platform it hasn’t been on before. We see these ‘perfect bodies’ all the time and people feel they have to maintain a certain image now.”

The Student Lettings App SPCE that conducted the survey of 2,000 UK students looked at all sectors of the student budget: rent and bills, travel, fashion and beauty, groceries and household items, leisure, health and fitness, eating out, academic items and alcohol.

Out of all of these, alcohol ranked the lowest of students’ regular expenses at just £68 a month on average. This is a decline from both of the last two decades, at £79 in the last twenty years. The survey also found 18 percent of students are spending nothing on booze, dispelling the assumptions of the student drinking lifestyle.

Leon Ifayemi, CEO and co-founder of SPCE said: “Today’s research has delivered some fascinating findings. The stereotypical view of students spending all their money on drinking and partying is, in reality, far from the truth. The modern student is evidently more health conscious.”

Findings showed rent and bills had the highest expenditure, at £274 a month on average. This is hardly surprising with student accommodation continually on the rise due to increasing numbers of students and the higher demand for housing.

The privatisation of student accommodation has seen many new blocks being built out of student budgets, particulary with the increase in the production of ’luxury’ student accommodation.

Trade between property investors is projected to increase from £4.5 billion to £5.3 billion by the end of 2017, meaning prices are unlikely to decline.

The survey also revealed a shocking rise in travel expenses for today’s students.

Previous graduate spending of £68 on transport has soared to a monthly expenditure of £235 for current students.

Despite this drastic increase, many students at UEA do not feel this is accurate to their own experiences in Norwich.

Third year biological and medicinal chemistry student Jonas Hajji said: “Everything is much more expensive now. I certainly don’t spend this on travel but I can understand how students in London could.

“But I do think commuting is more prevalent because people venture further from home now.”

Students in the UK today are under pressure to meet increasing costs; however they are still willing to invest into their health and fitness.

The findings of the survey demonstrates the diversity of student spending, and the differences in students’ priorites.


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May 2022
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