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Know your tribe: the out-of-state college movers

Half of college students move away from home to study. How well does your brand understand their needs?

When shopping for college, the student tribe will have very different purchasing intent based on whether they’re moving out of state or not. So, what makes this group tick – and how can you market to them? 

How many students move out of state for college?

Within the student population, roughly half (48%) moved to a new area to attend college, with 40% staying within the family home to attend college. Out of the students that attended college within their area, just 11% moved out of the family home – this generation is financially savvy, and moving out and paying rent is likely less appealing to local students.

What do long-distance movers research? 

Understandably, young people who make the big move out of state will need extra support – it’s a huge milestone for them, and it’s likely they have very little knowledge of the area they’re moving to. This is reflected in their research habits: those who move for college are more likely to do their research, with 97% doing so before college compared to 87% of local students. Concerns like what to buy for college, on-campus activities and groups and campus facilities are high on their agendas.

Half of college students move away from home to study. How well does your brand understand their needs?

As future residents of a whole new area, these students are also keeping an eye on what to do locally, where to eat out and where to shop – so if you’re a brand with physical locations, start thinking of creative ways to factor into this research process.

What do students moving out of state need?

Simply put, if a young person is moving state, they’ll likely have a very long shopping list – and a whole lot of nerves. Brands can make the process of moving much easier by running discounts well in advance, so that future students can plan their budgets. Remember, the bulk of Back to School shopping happens in August – but our research shows that over half of students have started shopping before this, and you can bet that students moving out of state will be among the first to start planning.

New start in a new state. College starters have long shopping lists.

Having said that, there’s a strong likelihood that these new residents will miss things off their list – or they might even plan to buy bigger investments when they arrive at college. So don’t fall into the trap of thinking that Back to School shopping season ends at the start of term: many freshmen will be looking for essentials and treats when they arrive in their new area. Moving out of state is also an expensive feat – as well as travel costs and new items, many students who move do not qualify for in-state tuition support, and on average they spend a higher percentage on rent and bills than students who go to college in their home state. These students, in particular, will really appreciate stackable discounts and extended offers.

Marketing to out-of-state students in the long term 

There are some key differences in the habits of students who move state for college, and those who don’t. In general, they are more adventurous – 90% of students moving to a new area take part in student events compared to 64% of locally-based students, including mixers, taster sessions, college societies and parties. Of course, these students have more of a vested interest in meeting people and immersing themselves in their new hometown. But it also points to these students being more adventurous and outgoing as a group. They’ll be more open to trying new products and experiences and engaging with the world around them. Capture their attention now, and you could expand your consumer base further down the line.

Back to School season is in full swing – but you can market to students all year round. Keep your finger on the pulse with our Youth Trends Report.

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