Coronavirus: UK to lose up to £4,000 per student

Abigail Fenton
·2-min read
Students contribute about £8bn a year, on top of standard expenses. (Javier Trueba/Unsplash)
Students contribute about £8bn a year, on top of standard expenses. Photo: Javier Trueba/Unsplash

The UK economy could lose £8bn ($10.3bn) of student spending for the 2020/21 academic year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Collectively, student spending habits contribute billions to the economy — excluding basic costs like accommodation, loans, healthcare and personal expenses.

On top of these, a typical student spends almost £4,000 a year on shopping, nightlife, drinking coffee, transport, hitting the gym and other activities, research by Fresh Student Living found

With a student population more than two million, the numbers soon add up to nearly £8bn.

Supermarket spending is students' biggest expense, with young people typically paying about £984 for food, snacks and toiletries at their local supermarket each year. Overall, this adds £2bn to the UK economy.

Going out to gigs and bars accounts for another £1bn, with students spending about £408 each per year.

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This is the same amount they spend on takeaways, accounting for another £1bn, the research found.

Meanwhile, drinking at home and other places costs students about £360 each a year, adding up to £859m.

Splurges on clothing, shoes and accessories have the potential to inject over £944m.

Additionally, spending on wellbeing, beauty and gym memberships adds another £144 per student, a total of £343m.

Transport accounts for £324 per student, or more than £773m overall, the study found.

Household bills, such as internet and electric, cost students another £288 each per year, or £686m overall. Meanwhile, phone bills cost them £156 a year, or £372m.

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Through entertainment streaming and purchases via Netflix, Amazon and other services, students contribute another £132 each — or £315m per year — to the economy.

Books and library costs come to another £192 per student per year, or £458m.

Students also make £48 of charity donations each per year — £115m overall.

This is based on average costs and doesn’t take into account different costs of living in bigger, more expensive cities like London, Glasgow or Liverpool.

Almost seven years ago, student spending supported over £80bn of UK economic output, meaning students have real power to benefit national, regional and local economies.

“With recent events around COVID-19 and the economic downturn seen across the country, there’s no better time to start thinking about the ways we can bolster local economies,” Fresh Student Living said.

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