Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Peacock: There seems to constantly be new subscription-based services that lure audiences with new programming and shows, making it easy for students to unwittingly overspend.
According to Retail Dive, which covers news and trends shaping Americans’ shopping habits, college-aged students are the prime targets for subscriptions and more likely to pay for monthly services — such as streaming sites and other apps — than older populations.
Student discounts, financial aid and parental assistance often allow students to justify spending more on services than they normally would. When asked by The Globe, Utah college students said they spend anywhere between $60-200 per month on subscriptions alone.
Scott Martin Lozano, a Salt Lake Community College science major, said he spends more toward the upper end of that figure each month on subscriptions.
“I probably pay for 10 to 15 [subscriptions], but I’m not really sure,” Lozano said, noting that being a student has made it easier to sign up for multiple services. “We get student discounts, and we have more liberties.”
Jesus Carbajal, a biomedical engineering student at the University of Utah, said he is signed up for about six subscriptions that his dad helps fund.
“I forget that I am even paying for some, most of the time,” he said. “Being a student definitely impacts the number of subscriptions you pay for.”
The subscription e-commerce market grew by 100% a year from 2013 to 2018, with most consumers being a younger demographic, according to McKinsey & Company, a national management consulting firm. College students are right in the center of this increase, especially as several companies are marketing directly to them.
Beyond streaming services, subscriptions for everything from gaming to custom emojis on Discord Nitro, are marketed on social media to a younger demographic.
Often, students earn marginal discounts on subscription services, as well as increased incentives if they sign up. Spotify Premium for students bundles Hulu and Showtime at no extra cost, and Amazon Prime Student offers free food delivery through Grubhub and upgrades student subscriptions for $1.
It is not limited to media-based subscriptions, with many retailers also “buying into the hype,” according to Retail Dive.
Amtrak, for example, offers discount tickets on train travel, Cinemark and AMC offer student discounts at certain locations, and some car insurance companies, including State Farm, offer reduced premiums for students. It’s one way that companies can reach new customer bases and increase their influence on millennials, according to Retail Dive.