As students, we have all struggled to save. With the pocket money we got, it was close to impossible to buy bigger brand products. We all looked out for offers and discounts, didn’t we? These days students do not have to worry about the same going around to shops to check for offers because they have UNiDAYS now.
UNiDAYS is an App in India that connects students with exclusive discounts from top brands. The app is free to use. Students can get up to 50% off on tech, fashion, and learning, and more every time they shop on the app. 17 million students from around the world are making use of UNiDAYS.
We all know that Gen Z is the most disruptive consumer in history. Their media and retail behaviors are influencing wider generations, including Millennials, Gen X, and Generation Alpha who follow them. In India, Gen Z is the most hyper-informed, hyper-connected, and demanding consumer. UNiDAYS has and shares some great insights/research reports on the Gen-Z population across various global markets including India.
The Balcony Stories got to interview Josh Rathour Singh, Founder, and CEO of UNiDAYS. Below are the excerpts…
How did UNiDAYS become a brand ten years ago? What does it have to offer Generation Z students?
UNiDAYS has grown to become the world’s largest in-app Student Affinity Network, with over 20 million verified members in 115 markets and more than $5 billion in GMV generated in the previous three years.
I come from an entrepreneurial family, and the idea for establishing the brand ‘UNiDAYS’ came to me while I was assisting my young daughter with an online game. I saw the need for a safe, trusted worldwide platform that benefits, supports, and inspires millions of (Gen Z) students to reach their full potential.
Our mission is to serve students by helping them discover, connect and experience everything they need to achieve their dreams. Many of the world’s biggest brands use our platform to offer students exclusive discounts on everything from books and laptops to music and clothes. In line with that mission and strong global growth, we are now helping students access the best technologies to help them learn and eventually, get the job they wish for.
What have been the most significant changes in terms of business development?
Pandemic struggles for student communities are the most significant change in this business. As foreign education reopens, there is an urgent need to help students by investing in them. Furthermore, the upcoming festive season in India, following the lockdowns, will stimulate increased consumption through internet purchasing. E-commerce is growing exceptionally fast in India, at over 36% annually, and by 2030 there will be over 50m students here. This is the perfect opportunity for any brand to increase its online presence and attract young, educated consumers.
Please provide a brief overview of the team driving UNiDAYS Marketplace’s success (globally).
We have a passionate, hardworking team of almost 250 people, working from our campuses in New York, Sydney, London, and our HQ in Nottingham, UK. We’ve established a strong leadership team, with a clear strategic focus, and a positive culture, built around our purpose of serving students.
With 10 years of experience in creating partnerships with brands across every category from clothing, sports, tech hardware, entertainment, finance, and learning, our team is experts in helping brands understand and connect with the hard-to-reach Gen Z audience.
It’s been a privilege to take UNiDAYS to so many countries around the world and immediately help students save money and discover new opportunities – we really make an impact with our work.
Could you please list the brands with which the UNiDAYS marketplace has partnered? (Both globally and in India)
Globally, UNiDAYS collaborates with industry leaders in 110+ countries, where we have partnered with 800+ brands, some of which are the biggest global brands that are already well-known and well-liked by Indian students.
We work with brands such as Amazon, Apple, ASOS, Microsoft, Nike, Farfetch, and Skillshare on a global scale. We have partnerships with Apple (offering Apple Music for just 49 rupees per month), Cbazaar, and OPPO in India.
Why did you decide to expand into India at this time?
Starting a business in India is both a professional and personal investment for me. My own roots are from Punjab and it’s a proud moment to come back to India with a tech platform so powerful that it can serve the Gen Z student market in India, meeting many of their needs and helping them save money, learn and earn!
My sister and Co-Founder of UNiDAYS, Ms. Situl Bains, was leading our launch strategy for India but unexpectedly passed away earlier this year. She was committed to serving the Indian student community and I want to make her dream of UNiDAYS India come true.
We soft-launched into India with Apple Music and since then many Indian students have discovered the benefit of our platform. This new investment is a logical next step. India is already a major global market, presenting an exponential growth opportunity, that more and more international brands wish to enter. We are enabling these global and domestic brands to offer Indian students exclusive opportunities, benefits, and discounts, thus establishing themselves before e-commerce explodes in India.
What services does UNiDAYS provide to the student community?
UNiDAYS is trusted by millions of Generation Z students to bring them the biggest discounts and benefits from their favorite brands and to help them learn and earn.
We also provide members with the advice and support they need to be the best they can be, including supporting their mental health and wellbeing – which is especially important in these COVID times. Our platform combines privacy and security, through our market-leading student verification technology, with discovery, so students and brands can connect with each other.
Once being approved by our instant verification technology, each UNiDAYS member receives a digital student identity, which they can use to seamlessly access the exclusive benefits offered by all our partners in India.
According to your observation, Gen Z’s habits are now influencing the behaviors of Millennials and Generation X, as well as younger generations. How do you believe this influential audience category will assist brands?
Gen-Z is the most aware, connected, and demanding generation in history, with a $3 trillion in direct yearly spending power (globally). We are working to engage India’s 34 million students, a figure that will rise to more than 50 million by 2030.
The Indian e-commerce market is valued at £37 billion, with a 36 percent annual growth rate. Globally, consumer relationships are becoming more digitally orientated, through social media, influencer marketing, online marketplaces, and payment. We see the importance of building relationships with young consumers by introducing them to our partners’ products and services to grow their affinity with their brand and secure lifetime loyalty. This generation loves to share their opinions, good and bad, with their friends and online, so brands must build strong relationships and demonstrate their support for the challenges young people face by helping them save and access opportunities.
How can UNiDAYS help (Indian) companies grow their reach among the ultimate target audience (Gen Z)?
Through UNiDAYS’ Student Affinity Network, we provide exclusive access to a marketplace of millions of verified college and university students, around the world, to offer them discounted prices, internships, events, and scholarships from the world’s biggest brands. UNiDAYS offers its brand partners a platform for integrated, multi-channel campaigns and solutions to help connect with a captive audience (Gen Z students), with high purchasing intent, through leading-edge marketing solutions so brands can target the student customers they feel are best for their brand. Therefore, the opportunity and benefit to Indian companies, on the platform, is massive.
Our focus is to provide the best experience for our members and brands – a safe, trusted platform for discovering opportunities in a meaningful and authentic way.
What do Gen Z (students) look for in products/services, and how does UNiDAYS take a comprehensive approach to improve the student experience?
Gen Z is looking for brands, products, and services that help them become the person they want to be. Thus, brands must build genuine and honest conversations around what they care about, such as sustainability, equal opportunity, and the future for young people. We also believe it’s crucial to support Gen Z by giving them opportunities to save money on the things they need. Our expert team works with brands to develop comprehensive strategies to build genuine, lifetime relationships with our members.
For students, we are constantly listening and speaking to them about the products and services they want, so we always bring them the best brands. We use our experience, technology, and scale to make discovery very simple, helping our members find what they need when they need it. We are excited about the opportunity to serve India’s 37m students. While they are used to receiving discounts on a regular basis, UNiDAYS wants to provide them with such benefits, and so much more, on a daily basis.