Ever since the Department of Education announced that student loan payments will resume in October, CivicScience has continued its tracking of consumer sentiment toward student loan forgiveness and repayment which began during the pandemic. In recent weeks, that has spanned everything from borrower concern to the potentially substantial impact payments resuming might have on food delivery services. Few industries will be untouched, but which brands within each industry stand to be affected the most?

CivicScience utilized its brand ranker product, tracking favorability toward hundreds of brands daily through the InsightStore. Sorting each brand by the percentage of customers who have student loan debt reveals which consumer categories and companies might be the most and least impacted by loan payments resuming. 

Here’s a look at brands in select categories that have the highest percentage of customers with student loan debt (‘top 3’), compared to the brands with the lowest percentage of student loan debt holders among its customer base (‘bottom 3’):

  • Apparel brands with the highest percentage of student loan debtors among their customer base include Rue21, H&M, and Express – which is a likely proxy for a younger customer base in this case. Wrangler looks best positioned to weather student loan payments resuming, with under 10% of its customer base carrying student debt.
  • Among restaurant brands, just over one-quarter of Le Pain Quotidien customers have student loan debt, topping all other restaurant brands. Qdoba also ranks among the top 3 restaurant brands with a high percentage of borrowers (25%), while competitor Moe’s Southwest Grill ranks third among restaurant brands with the lowest percentage of debtors (13%).
  • Whole Foods and Gander Outdoors top retail brands with a high percentage of student loan borrowers among their customer base at 22% each, followed by department store Saks Fifth Avenue (21%). Another big outdoor chain, REI, looks well-positioned with just 11% of its customers who have student loan debt.

Additional insights from the brand ranker:

  • E-commerce sites Zappos.com (8%) and Overstock.com (6%) ranked as brands with the lowest percentage of student loan borrowers among all brands tracked.
  • Fiat and Nissan truck fans are the most likely of all auto brands tracked to have student loan debt, at 23% and 21%, respectively.
  • It even tracks celebrity fandom; fans of the Kardashians and Nicki Minaj are the most likely to have student loan debt (31% and 27%, respectively). Meanwhile, Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks fans are the least likely to have student loans (11% each).

Want to know more about what our brand ranker projects for your company? Get in touch today, and unlock a free month of premium content access after booking a meeting.

Join the webinar!

On Thursday, June 29, CivicScience CEO John Dick will host a webinar focused on how the return of student loan payments will impact brands and markets. Join us to see the latest tracking data on the consumers who will be most affected, how they expect to shift their spending as a result, which categories and brands will be most affected, and what they can do about it. Register here.