Social Stigma Overview: Why Do College Kids Chase Brands?

When it comes to purchasing decisions, college students tend to actively pursue leading brands. And there are different reasons for that.

Factors that Cause Students to Purchase Brands

College students prefer big brands and are willing to forego even such bare necessities as food to purchase them. It is common for them to queue up for the latest Nike footwear or pre-order a new iPhone model. The following is a breakdown of various reasons that explain students’ obsession with purchasing popular brands.

Social Acceptance

College students strive to fit in with particular groups. Consequently, they may purchase brands based on the belief that they will contribute to their greater acceptance in different social circles. Therefore, a student will buy a smartphone or shoes to make a statement about who they are or what they want to be. These brands become part of their self-image because of the emotional attachment that young people form with them. Brand campaigns often leverage that by reflecting such self-perceptions and personalities.


Students purchase a brand because they hope that it offers them a quality experience. They will buy a personal computer hoping that it will enable them to perform academic tasks more effectively. For instance, a student can buy custom thesis online based on the word-of-mouth recommendation of others who have established the consistency of the quality of a brand based on their previous experience.

Identify with College Culture

Students go through numerous experiences throughout their college lives. The most meaningful moments often give big brands a chance to connect with the target market by providing them with their first credit card, furnishing their personal space or doing their laundry and cooking. Most students are responsive to reputable brands mainly because of their huge advertising budgets. However, it is impossible to rule out the influence of flashing a card of a respectable institution or lining the kitchen cabinet with breakfast cereals from well-known brands.

Fast Decision-Making

After browsing in physical and online stores for a new item to buy, we find that many of them have no major differences. For instance, if one is searching for a high-definition television, looking through all options offered by Amazon may be time-consuming. However, if one considers what their on-campus friends have purchased or consider to be the best, the search may narrow down to a few brands. It is likely that their suggestions will help them declutter the search criteria and make them choose one of the popular brands.

Loyalty and Fanaticism

Popular brands are competing fiercely for their customers’ loyalty. What causes one to select one brand over another are the reasons cited by their peers or highlighted by influencers. It is not uncommon for students to prefer expensively-priced branded items to unbranded ones. Consequently, they are hooked to these brands and have to pay a lot of money for their preferred choices.

Upholding a Certain Image

Just as businesses strive to create and nurture a specific image, college students are also at an age in which they have discovered the significance of looking a certain way. Besides, a recognizable brand will not only be visible to the buyer, but also to those who are critically important for boosting their image. Consequently, they actively seek fashion and technology brands that will help them project the desired image of themselves. Buying the most recent Gucci outfit or an Apple MacBook may contribute to an image of a trendy individual or techie respectively.


Ordinarily, people seek to avoid risks that are associated with the unfamiliarity of the offerings under consideration. For instance, students who are used to pricey meals from a branded fast food outlet will stick to it if they are in a new city. The predictability of the choices in a branded restaurant will win over an individual, thus significantly reducing the risk of being disappointed.

Sharing on Social Media

The advent of social media networks and their popularity among college-going students means that it has varied levels of influence on different aspects of their lives. It presents an additional form of interaction whereby students give their opinions on different brands. Additionally, different companies utilize celebrities as influencers to make them appealing to younger audiences. Consequently, the students become brand advocates by sharing their experiences about brands. After spending money on the brands, the students will want to flaunt them to others.

Although college students do not have stable incomes yet, they are among the buyers of branded products. Their obsession with popular brands is attributable to varied reasons, including projecting a particular image, familiarity, and previous experiences.