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E‐Commerce » Tips & Facts, Best Practice | 01.10.2015

Students get busy with e-commerce

Banking giant Santander has revealed research suggesting that almost a quarter of students start a business while at university and of those at least 49% are using e-commerce on their own website. These businesses are pulling in a combined revenue of £44 million.

University is expensive, bright minds congregate together and it makes sense that Britain’s universities are the breeding ground for tomorrow’s entrepreneurs. Low entry costs to the e-commerce arena, together with the rising costs of university education, make it an inevitability that many students will launch businesses.

Santander surveyed 2,000 undergraduates, which seems like a small sample size for conclusions of this kind, but nonetheless it found that 24% of those had started, or were in the process of starting, their own small business.

Of those that had started a business, 22% were in the technology and arts and crafts sectors, which were far and away the most popular ventures.

As well as 49% of students offering e-commerce fulfilment on their own website and doing things the ‘old-fashioned’ way, a further 13% used online marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon to market their products. Most still take care of order delivery from their own homes, but many students looking to expand their business employ the services of third-party fulfilment houses.

Not every student started their business for money. In a world of unpaid internships, 11% became entrepreneurs to gain business acumen and to show their skills to future employers. Only 38% claimed they started their venture to make money with 43% stating their business grew from a personal hobby or interest.

Only 27% believe their business will be their main focus after graduation and while 53% intend to keep their business running as a second job or just a hobby, many of today’s students are starting their own company simply for the experience.


Santander Universities UK director, Simon Bray, said: "Students are generating significant sums of money and gaining invaluable experience as a result of their ventures. The prevalence of these businesses demonstrates a great amount of skill and initiative from students across the UK, who are already under pressure to meet the demands of their studies."