A new study confirms what many observers already suspected: today’s college students are addicted to their mobile phones. In fact, 87% admit to never or rarely leaving home without their phones. More importantly for business owners, the survey finds that a shocking 90% of college students say they regularly use their mobile devices to shop for deals and coupons.

Current college students struggle to remember a time when cellphones were not a major part of their lives. More than ever, they rely heavily on their smart phones to socialize and communicate, as well as for daily tasks such as checking the weather, uploading homework assignments, looking up the nearest Starbucks, and shopping. Of those who shop for deals online, 20% say they always use their mobile devices and 31% say they often do. Only 10% of students say they never use their smart phones to seek out money-saving deals.

A leading college entertainment media company, Study Breaks College Media, conducted the survey of 689 college students in conjunction with College2Careers. The goal was to assess exactly what students are doing on the thousands of phones on campus at any given time. Questions ranged from how often students scan QR codes to how often students purchase items online via their mobile device.

The results revealed that of those students surveyed:

  • 93% use their mobile to search for business information
  • 40% prefer mobile-optimized sites
  • 32% use their mobile for visiting business websites, while 68% use their laptops
  • 68% “check in” with social media via mobile
  • 91% use their mobile to check/compose email
  • 46% use their mobile to scan QR codes in a print ad

“What this means is that, like it or not, mobile devices are an extension of college students – a practical limb – and it’s crucial that businesses take advantage of this,” said Study Breaks in a recent announcement. “To do this, a business should develop mobile marketing tactics and a mobile site to increase interactivity and reach potential college students at any time via the one form of media that they never put down: their mobile device.”

According to ABIResearch, dependence on mobile devices is no passing trend: it is predicted that 1.2 billion smart phones will enter the market over the next 15 years.


Essany, Michael. “Study Shows College Students Are mCommerce Monsters.” March 11, 2013. MobileMarketingWatch.

Leggatt, Helen. “90% of students use mobile to hunt out deals, coupons.” March 11, 2013. BizReport.