Uncovering Buying Behaviors and Purchasing Decisions of College Women

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College women are a huge demographic that have very different buying behavior and purchasing decisions from their male counterparts. A recent report by Merkle and Levo discovered important findings about college aged women. This demographic has the highest spending velocity and volume. Among young women, the top 60% spenders are 19% more likely to spend during a specific time frame and will spend 25% more than other segments of the US population. This research suggests the trend toward experiential marketing will continue to grow. College women are willing to pay more and work harder to get the products they want. Eighty-one percent of women surveyed said they are willing to indulge themselves but look for the best deals. To support their spending habits, over 40% have a side hustle to earn extra money. Here are some more key findings from the survey about college women:


  • Seventy-two percent of college females say spending on experiences make them the happiest, according to research conducted by Merkle and Levo. Forty-five percent of college-aged women say their biggest purchases over the past 12 months were on experiences, and 54% say experiences drive their biggest purchases in the next year.
  • They seek out brands they feel pride in supporting, as 47% know their favorite brand’s origin story, 41% said they know about the brand’s founder, and 40% follow the founder or someone affiliated with the brand on social media. Over half at 57% say that their purchase decisions are driven by a brand’s value and stance on issues that are important and relevant to them. According to a Sprout Social survey, two-thirds of consumers believe it is important for brands to take a public stance on social issues.
  • Comments, customer ratings and reviews influence purchase decisions for 84% of college women, and 62% report trying a brand based on recommendations from an influencer. Eighty-one percent of young women think brands are designing products with their needs in mind, and 70% think brands listen and respond to their needs.

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