Northeastern U. Students Say Economy Doesn't Crush Desire For Latest Gadgets

This story was written by Daniel Buono, The Northeastern News


Maybe its their sleek design or the fun advertising, but students just can't get enough of new technology offerings targeted at the collegiate set from Apple, Blackberry and T-Mobile - even in a recession.

"Apple's promotions, as well as Blackberry's, are certainly focusing on students because these technologies have become a number one central role in student life," said Andrew Rohm, assistant professor of marketing at Northeastern University.

The current economic decline has shown some cut backs in marketing schemes within the technology sector, but they also won't stop funding entirely, said Rohm.

"Marketing spending may suffer because corporations will feel pressure to cut spending, but if there is any spending it will focus on college age students," Rohm said.

Internet, text and picture messaging, GPS and other technologies have transformed the definition of what a phone is, Rohm said.

"Phones are no longer phones," Rohm said. "They are a new way to communicate."

Phones have become a way for students to keep in touch with each other in the college community, he said said.

Kainani Stevens, a sophomore communication studies major, said the economy has little impact on what she buys.

"It's not really going to affect me because I am very technology needy," Stevens said.

Ninety percent of college students reacted positively to the Apple iPod's price decrease in 2007, up 10 percent from the previous year, according to Surveyu.com, a website that collects feedback from students.

Stevens said her iPod broke earlier this month and she plans to buy the new iPod touch, one of Apple's premier appliances, which is listed on apple.com at $229 for the 8 gigabyte version. While she said she feels the effects of the declining economy, she said her latest buy will be a splurge.

"People may be worried, but everybody is technology-crazy. They are still going to feel the need to get the latest and greatest gadgets," she said.

Seth Cronin, a freshman economics major, said the economy doesn't have an effect on how he's buying electronics right now, but it could in the future. Cronin said he doesn't have large savings, but in a few years he's going to be keeping his assets under scrutiny because he feels the economic decline will affect him.

"My laptop is a little out of date, and I'm looking into getting one of the new Macbooks soon," he said.

Cronin said it's not pressure that makes him buy his electronics. However, he said having friends who do have the electronics helps to display what technology is available.

"Students definitely feel an influence from newspaper, TV and magazine advertisements, but the major influence comes from a personal influence," Rohm said.

Students walk on campus or down the street and see other students with the electronics and it is bound to have an effect on how they buy, Rohm said.

"They have become a bit more of a prestige item, it used to be handbags and designer clothes, now it's these electronics," he said.
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