Samsung, Microsoft and Bose Challenge Apple’s Supremacy Among College Students


If you’re scrambling for a last minute gift for a college student, then good news! According to a recent poll of college students conducted by Chegg, cash tops the list (83%) of desired gifts, followed by clothing (73%) and electronics (52%).
But take note, males prefer electronics (67%) and females would rather have
new clothes (79%).

When it comes to the electronic accessories that today’s college students prefer, it’s no surprise that Apple is on top across just about every category.  They have the most desired brand for tablets, laptops, smartphones, and headphones. But particularly among male college students, brands like Samsung, Microsoft and Bose are gaining ground.


Apple has a commanding lead in smartphones, with 51% of all respondents indicating a preference for a brand new iPhone. Samsung is the only other brand of smartphones to crack double digits, coming in at 29% likely driven by lower price. In fact, smartphones could be categorized as Apple, Samsung and the seven dwarfs.

Digging a little deeper into the numbers, things get interesting when broken down by gender. Girls have an overwhelming preference for Apple (57%), while guys are a little more lukewarm on the iconic brand (44%). Samsung maintains a steady number 2 position across both genders, with slightly more men preferring Samsung (30%) than women (29%).


Again, it’s no surprise that Apple is the tablet category leader among college students, but what stands out for us is that Microsoft has come out of nowhere to come in second at 23%. The research doesn’t tell us why this happened, but likely a case of improved design, multiple price points, and better marketing. In this category, there was little variance in preferences by gender, and Samsung comes in a solid third with 18% of students indicating a preference for Galaxy tablets.


Recently acquired by Apple, Beats are the brand of headphone desired by more college students than any other, but headphones are also the category in which we see the most significant gender bias. 46% of all students prefer Beats while 24% of all students want Bose. However, while 55% of girls prefer Beats, only 33% of boys do, which places Beats in a statistical dead heat with Bose, as 30% of male college students indicated a preference for Bose over Beats, perhaps driven by a preference for function over form.

Bring Your Allen Wrench

When it comes to furniture and home décor, Target is the leading retailer among college students (29%) with Ikea coming in a bit of a distant second (22%). On a gender basis however, Ikea is tops with boys (35%) who we can only assume are either more eager to assemble items themselves, happiest while shopping with Swedish meatballs in hand, or both.


We surveyed 880 college students attending 2-year and 4-year colleges between December 16th and December 19th. Data was weighted and quoted to national norms. The sample was drawn from Chegg’s proprietary national panel of 25,000 students. Data is accurate to within +/- 3.2% at the 95% confidence level.

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