Computing on Campus – Dell Leads, Apple Ascends

October 22, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Men | Retail & E-Commerce | Women | Youth & Gen X

Dell is the most popular computer brand among college students while Apple is building momentum on the strength of its student purchase program and the iPod’s halo effect, according to (pdf) a recent survey by

The success of Apple’s student program is a significant contributor to its on-campus momentum, with more than 4 of 5 (83%) of Mac-owning students having purchased their Mac under a student plan that includes a free iPod with Mac computers sold to students, the survey found.

Among the survey findings:

  • Slightly less than one-third (30%) of Dell’s collegiate sales are made under a student plan, while the remaining computer manufacturers have not fully leveraged the power of student purchase programs.
  • The impact of the iPod on computer purchase decision-making is undeniable, with current iPod owners more likely to be current Mac users (29% versus 23%) as well as future Mac purchasers (52% versus 44%).


  • Computer brand choice varies by gender, with female college students more likely to choose Apple, Sony and Toshiba, whereas male college students prefer Alienware, Dell and Lenovo.
  • College students are mobile, and their choice of desktop versus laptop reflects their demand for portability: More than 4 out of 5 college students use a laptop as their primary computer.

“US College students have spent an average of $1,290 on their computers, resulting in more than $22 billion spent by those currently in college,” said Dan Coates, cofounder of SurveyU. “Given that colleges are swelling to accommodate the massive Millennial generation, PC manufacturers would do well to get in front of this critical consumer segment.”

About the study: 1,000 online interviews were conducted between Thursday, October 18, and Sunday, October 21, 2007. Respondents participate in the SurveyU panel of US college students that has been constructed to represent college students nationally. Results were weighted to reflect the demographic composition of college students nationwide according to statistics published by the NCES (National Center for Educational Statistics).

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