Chegg Study Reveals the Hidden Buying Power of the College Student

Unprecedented spending among 19.7 MM US college market

Oct 05, 2011, 11:30 ET from Chegg

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Oct. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Today's college students are now key decision makers for purchasing everyday items, spending almost $500 monthly on food, clothing, gas, travel, entertainment and personal care, according to "Under the Cover with College Students," a survey released today by leading social education platform, Chegg.

Also revealed in the study, students remain under major financial pressure and are always looking for a good deal. Chegg's survey uncovered today's college students are concerned about the economy and their job prospects. Eighty-six percent are hopeful that the economy will turn around before they graduate, but are prepared to enter a difficult job market. Fifty-seven percent are working at least part time to make ends meet.  

"There is no prototypical college student today – as examples, one third live at home and 15 percent are married, but one thing is consistent – they are savvy shoppers," said Elizabeth Harz, Vice President of Brand Partnerships. "Chegg understands that students are searching for low prices on the brands they love. And now, they're influencing their parents' and friends' purchases, both online and off."

These survey results highlight a growing need for marketers to talk to students about what matters to them most – saving money while meeting their needs for the newest products and services available. College students are plugged in and paying attention to what brands are trying to sell them (20 percent more likely to favor authentic brands and 31 percent more likely to value brands that are environmentally conscious when compared to the general online population).  

On a daily basis, only 44 percent of college students are watching live network TV (vs. 71 percent of the general online population). They also found that college students spend twice the amount of time online than watching TV. When online, students are constantly connecting with one another through the following:

  • 81 percent visit a social network daily
  • 38 percent watch online video daily
  • 43 percent have purchased a smart phone in the last year

"College students are digitally and mobile savvy," said Michele Madansky, Ph.D., research consultant. "They want to not only hear from brands, but also create a dialogue with them on their medium of choice. And they appreciate brands that express the same values that they hold dear – from openness and authenticity to environmental issues and a good sense of humor."

Chegg has transformed from a textbook rental company to a social education platform and a service that students use year round to save time, money and get smarter.  Chegg reaches as many as 30 percent of college students nationwide and is growing daily.  

Chegg helps brands connect with students throughout their education lifecycle from high school through college to their first job.  These opportunities include sampling programs, a national music tour, digital marketing and Chegg Deals, a national and regional deals program targeted specifically at college students.      

This research has real implications for how companies approach the college market. Chegg President and CEO, Dan Rosensweig, and Vice President of Brand Partnerships, Elizabeth Harz, will share these findings at an Advertising Week keynote taking place in New York City on October 5, 2011.


Chegg conducted eight friendship groups with college students in the Bay Area and Columbus, Ohio, and in-depth interviews with 32 incoming college freshmen from around the country.  Chegg also hired Synovate to conduct 940 online surveys among a representative sample of college students ages 18-24 and Americans 18 years of age or older. They surveyed 434 college students aged 18-24 and 506 adults 18+ from Synovate's online panel in September 2011.

About Chegg

Chegg, the social education platform, is transforming the way millions of students learn by connecting them to the people and tools needed to succeed before, during and after college. High schools students and college students on over 7,000 campuses nationwide use Chegg 365 days a year for: Homework help, Course selection, Note taking, Textbook and e-textbook rentals, Chegg Deals, scholarships and college recruitment. As a part of the company's philanthropic efforts, Chegg is dedicated to its Chegg For Good program, which aims to inspire, support, and encourage our students to make positive changes through causes focused on education, the environment, and their own communities. Since its founding in 2007, Chegg's growth has made it one of Silicon Valley's most successful start-ups. From starting as a purely textbook rental company to evolving into the education network, Chegg is disrupting (and enhancing) education for millions of students.  For more information, visit