16 May 2011
Savvy students are using price comparison websites and advanced online search techniques to manage their home lives, save time and organise their money.
Whether buying a cheaper television, looking to compare home insurance or seeking a new housemate, the internet has become the number one way to run a student homeshare.
Research by O’Donnell and Associates has shown that students spend more online than any other demographic, while academics Seock and Bailey found that, when it comes to fashion items in particular, students are most likely to browse and research before they buy.
The findings are supported by anecdotal evidence: “When I think of all the stuff in our house and where it came from, I think most of it was sourced on the internet,” says Oliver, a third year student from Manchester.
“We do online shopping for groceries. It’s just easier to agree what we all regularly need and then get the same stuff delivered every fortnight.
“Our TV arrived after a night spent comparing offers. We all had our laptops out and were Top Trump-ing each other. We all became a bit fanatical about finding the cheapest Sony! And even our newest housemate came via Facebook.”
Students have high levels of online literacy, having grown up using the internet in their studies and social lives.
Whether researching information for an essay or chatting with friends over instant messaging, they have become adept at getting what they need quickly and efficiently.
“It’s the first idea that comes to mind,” says Oliver. “My first thought with everything is always, can I get it or can I do it on the internet?
“I don’t even think of it in terms of being more convenient or saving time or being the best method. It’s just natural to flick up the laptop or unlock the phone to find the answer to a question or solve any kind of problem.
“My biggest nightmare would be losing connectivity!”