Student Opinion: Students, shopping and business behaviour

We've carried out research to find out about student attitudes and views towards businesses and their products.

2018 research

In January 2018, we repeated our research with NUS Extra cardholders to find out more about their hsopping habits, views on business behaviour and what action they'd like to see companies, NUS and their students' union taking. The 1153 students that completed our online survey told us...

  • When asked what issues are most important in relation to business beahviour, human rights (92%), paying a living wage (88%), animal welfare (87%), air pollution (85%) and climate change (82%) were rated as the top five.
  • Two thirds say their shopping decisions have been influenced by ethical or environmental standards in the last year, however the main factors that are taken into consideration when making purchases are price (89%), budget (78%) and quality (76%).
  • 86% say they take reusable bags when shopping and 81% use refillable water bottles to reduce the amount of waste they produce.
  • Over three quarters want to see stronger action from government, with 79% saying they would support a tax on suppliers and manufacturers based on the amount of non-recyclable packaging used.
  • Respondents also want to see more information provided on the ethical and environmental credentials of products available in their students' union shops and catering outlets (67%) along with these venues stocking a wider range of products with positive credentials (63%).

Click here to read the full report

2016 research

In January 2016, research was completed through an online survey with NUS Extra cardholders. A total of 1566 responses were received from respondents in higher and further education.  We asked students about their shopping habits, views on business behaviour and what changes they'd like to see.  They told us...

  • 61% agree ethical and environmental standards of companies, and the products they sell matters to them at least a fair amount.
  • The most important issues related to business behaviour are human rights (91%), animal welfare (84%), living wages (84%), Fairtrade (83%) and waste prevention (77%).
  • Two thirds say their shopping decisions in the last year have  been influenced by ethical or environmental standards.
  • Those who have made purchases influenced by ethical and environmental standards considered Fairtrade (91%), animal welfare (84%) and human rights (84%).
  • Barriers to purchasing ethical and environmentally friendly products include price (63%), information (37%) and availability (33%).
  • Reputation and accreditation is important when making purchasing decisions - 81% say the reputation of the brand is important and the same proportion agree the reputation of products are important.  69% say that accreditation marks (e.g. Fairtrade) are important.
  • Top actions students would like to see businesses take are paying a living wage (92%) and minimising waste (91%).

Click here to read the full report.