Class of 2011 Brandishes Connections, Consumer Clout

August 20, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Media & Entertainment | Out-of-Home | Television | Youth & Gen X

The class of 2011 is heading back to campuses wielding more connections, concern and consumer clout than any class before them, according to a new study released by Alloy Media + Marketing, writes MediaBuyerPlanner.

The 7th Annual Alloy College Explorer, conducted by Harris Interactive, finds that the class of 2011 (the largest college class in history) has evolved in three key areas: communication modality, purchase behavior, and concern over world issues.


The differences between students in this year’s study and the 2003 study should have considerable impact on how advertisers attempt to reach them, said Dana Markow, VP of research at Harris Interactive. “Perpetual advancements in technology have had notable impact on students’ daily conduct and as we head into an election year, we’re seeing a class that’s assuming more control over their future.”

Among the study’s findings:

  • Just about one-third (28.9%) of campuses now offer full wireless coverage and almost two-thirds claim to have a wireless strategy plan in place.
  • Laptop ownership has increased 21 percentage points in the last two years.


  • 93% of students report that they own a cell phone (an almost 15 percent increase).
  • 64% of students own a digital camera (nearly double the number from four years ago), and 16% plan to purchase one this year.
  • 58% of students own an MP3 player (up from 17% four years ago).
  • 27% of co-eds cite choosing to stay in touch with friends via social networking site over face-to-face communication (at 11%), or over phone (23%) .


  • 54% of college students (ages 18-30) visit a social network in a typical day.
  • 66% of students are learning about brands, products and services from their friends, and word of mouth has soared with 61% reporting its power (up from 48%).


  • Movie and electronics purchases (up 60% and 48% respectively) show the heaviest peer-to-peer influence.
  • More than half of students claim they played the deciding role in recent decision to buy a computer (57%), a digital camera (57%), or a cell phone/PDA (66%).
  • Interestingly, a bit more than 25 percent of students claim they have never visited a user-generated site.

In terms of spending…

  • This year’s students have spending power over $198 billion, a 31% increase since ’03.
  • 75% of students now report employment during the year.


About the study: This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Alloy Media + Marketing between April 11 and April 30, 2007 among 1,592 college students (full-time, part-time, 4-yr., 2-yr., ages 18 to 30). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, region and school status (full-time, part-time, 4-yr., 2-yr.) were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

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