As universities across the country begin the new term, figures this week say students contribute 28% of the total residential spend in Canterbury.
A study from Experian revealed students spend £252m of the total £538m spent, the fourth highest in the UK behind Sheffield, Cardiff and Huddersfield.
Adam Tinner, from Hobgoblin Music Canterbury, said: “During the holiday period, we normally see a drop in sales because students have gone home. Our business lives on it, we’d be a lot quieter if they weren’t here as tourists aren’t a massive part of our trade.”
In total, students are set to boost spend in university towns across the UK by £22bn this academic year. This will equate to a potential increase of almost 20 per cent per location.
Duncan Cochrane-Dyet, Partner of MHA MacIntyre Hudson LLP, said: “Students play a critical role in our economy, they are the future after all. So making sure that they have the education and training required to grow the economy is vital.
“Bringing innovation and a fresh perspective to the world around us makes them a precious commodity. Clearly also the local economy of places such as Canterbury are reliant on our world class higher education institutions.”
However, data proves that although students contribute a lot to the economy, it is actually not as much as expected.
Experian’s Uniland study in 2015 estimated a contribution of £30bn to the UK economy from student spend, highlighting a decrease of approximately £8bn in the last two years.
Richard Jenkings from Experian said: “With many High Street businesses battling to survive in the face of rent hikes, growing online competition and unstable consumer spend, this data shows that the student pound is still of great importance to the prosperity of towns and cities with universities across the UK.”
This comes after a study by Oxford Economics in March said that international students generate more than £25 billion to the UK economy.
A University of Kent spokesperson said: “It is not only economically where our students from 140 different countries make an important contribution.
“The council, local organisations, businesses, resident’s associations and individuals, as well neighbours and friends, all play their part to enhance the student experience in this historic city.”