Friday, July 07, 2006

Students choose iPods over beer

Apple's iPod portable music player has proven more intoxicating to US students than even beer drinking, a new survey concluded. Students from one hundred US universities surveyed by Student Monitor, a market research firm, ranked the handheld hard drive a full two percentage points below social drinking, according to the poll.

The firm has conducted a study of student trends biannually for 20 years. Not since 1997, with the rise of the Internet, has campus boozing been knocked from the top spot on
the list of favorite student pastimes.

"Apple has been selling iPods faster than they can make them," Eric Weil, managing partner of Student Monitor, told. "For students, the iPod is not a fashion accessory, it's functionality," said Weil. The iPod's "in" factor has leapt more than 20 percentage
points from last year's student survey.

Part of the explosion in its popularity may be due to the iPod's use as a learning tool in the form of "podcasting", technology that allows students to download lectures directly
into their handheld devices to be listened to and viewed at their convenience, suggested Weil. "Professors are using whatever way they can to jam information into students' brains," said Weil.

US college students, known by marketers as "early adopters", are generally considered to be six to 18 months ahead of the general population in national trends. "But don't sell your brewery stock just yet," warns Weil. "Just like 10 years ago, beer drinking could be back on the top of the heap by next semester.


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