What do students really think about technology?

Tech and mobile is one of the key spending categories for students. Most have a smartphone and laptop, and many have other connected devices too, such as tablets and wearables. As part of our latest research into the habits and opinions of the UK student market, we found out what students want from technology brands today.

Mobile networks

80% of students are in a mobile phone contract, with most choosing a standard pay monthly deal over SIM only, which requires buying the phone outright. Less than 20% are on pay as you go (25% for those aged 16-17). Our focus group raved about mobile network Three, who offer a discount through Student Beans. They love the generous 30GB data package, which doesn’t count Netflix and Apple Music streaming. Data is a priority for this demographic.

Mobile devices

As for the handset, the iPhone is an obvious favourite. Our focus group said they replaced their smartphone around every two years, when their contract runs out. Aside from the brand, storage is a priority, suggesting they might pay more or switch brands for a model with greater storage space.


The typical student buys a new laptop every four years or less. As laptops don’t come with a contract, students are able to wait for a special offer or discount, such as Black Friday or Freshers deals. Apple’s stylish devices are ubiquitous on campus. Many university students invest in a MacBook when they get their first loan payment, and make use of Apple’s famous student discount. Other brands that got the seal of approval were Lenovo, Dell, HP and Microsoft’s Surface Book.

Key takeaways

  • Keep students’ priorities in mind: data, storage, style and value for money

  • Offer discounts on the products students see as essential: laptops and smartphones

  • Schedule your best student deals for times of year when they are most likely to buy, such as Freshers

For more insights on how students view technology, travel, online shopping and more, check out our Student Shopping Report 2018.