Richmond, Va. — College kids began shopping for their back-to-school consumer electronics two or more months before classes begin, according to a new study commissioned by Circuit City.
The survey of more than 2,200 college students, conducted by independent research firm Decision Analyst, also underscored the importance of PCs as a learning tool on campuses. Nearly 62 percent of U.S. colleges and universities now require or recommend that students own computers, the study showed, and almost 98 percent of respondents said they use a computer everyday while at college.
What’s more, nearly 90 percent of students surveyed said having their own computers helped them earn better grades, while 80 percent said they would choose a notebook computer over a desktop model.
“There’s no question that college students use their computers day in and day out, not only for academics and communications, but also for music and video games,” said Elliot Becker, Circuit City’s technology VP. “But computers are only the tip of the iceberg. These days, students take a wide variety of gear to college. Whether it’s cellphones, MP3 players, digital cameras or dorm-room TVs, today’s college students are more ‘plugged-in’ than ever before.”
The survey also revealed varying CE usage patterns for male and female students. Male college students tend to use MP3 players and video game consoles more often than female students, the study showed, while female students use digital cameras more often than males.
The survey also suggested subtle regional differences. Western college students watch slightly less TV and take more pictures than their counterparts elsewhere in the country, according to the poll, while more students in the Northeast are likely to play video games than students elsewhere.
Circuit City said it focused on college students because “they know first-hand which tech tools contribute the most to their success.” The survey’s margin of error is plus or minus 2 percentage points.
To help promote back-to-school sales, Circuit City has created a special Web site, www.circuitcity.com/school, featuring promotions, customer ratings and reviews, and exclusive interview segments with pop band Fall Out Boy. The chain is also offering free PC check-ups in stores through Sept. 8. The service, a $40 value, is offered to all customers, and will be performed by Circuit City’s Firedog technicians on notebook or desktop PCs, regardless of where they were purchased. In addition, Firedog is offering a special back-to-school rate of $100 for five months (July 15 – Dec. 15) of in-store and 24/7 online PC services that include unlimited diagnostics, virus and spyware removal and hardware installations, plus network connection support and up to 50GB of remote data backup.