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Young Children and Their Buying Influence

Through the years, the role a child plays in a family has changed. That is not to say they are necessarily ‘in charge.’ Instead, it means that parents are paying more attention to the opinions of their children. In the marketplace, this means changing advertising strategies. Children now have more power over the final decision making process when families are making purchases. This new shift in collaborative decision-making is important for businesses and how they present their products in the future.

There may be many reasons why a young child’s opinion on products has become a focal point, one of them being that parents are showing children that their opinions count. In some cases, knowledge about a product shifts, and a parent realizes their child may know more about it than they do. Regardless, there is proof that more parents are seeking the opinions of their children simply because they understand more about certain brands.

REASONING: Parents and children have different relationships today than they did in past generations. More parents believe they are closer and more involved with their children than their parents were with them. This equates to a diminutive generation gap. Disobeying was feared more in the past than it is today, per a great number of parents. Today, children consider their parents more like best friends; this is felt more so on an international level rather than in the United States alone. Simply put, a child’s input about purchases is valued and listened to by more parents today.

INFLUENCE: A child’s influence on purchases does not mean they are out of control. Instead, it is more like a meeting with the parents being the board of directors. A child’s input is absorbed, and those who earn the money and provide make the final decision. This shows that a parent is more in charge without ruling out the intellect of their child.

CONSIDERATION: The ‘Family Meeting’ approach is a popular scenario where the entire family discusses product purchases and agrees on merchandise as a whole group. They all come together to make the decision. This method interjects that a child could influence purchase decisions more just by being aware of product branding and information due to more exposure on the Internet and within other social media platforms.

Which Types of Purchases Do Children Influence the Most?

There are many categories in which children have a great influence and buying power. The top categories include fast food, clothing, and shoes. Mobile phone purchases and vacation choices come in close but tend to be left more up to parents. This includes shopping in retails stores as well as online. Such shopping influence has no boundaries with today’s families. They tend to watch the same television shows, enjoy the same kinds of music, and even have similar taste in shoes and clothing.

How Are Children Learning More about Products?

Kids are learning more about brands from television commercials, online, and their friends. However, the influence of friends is the top buying influence. Children tend to learn about new products by talking with their friends and discussing items that catch their interest, but the power of the television still stands in high rank. While talking to friends encourages purchases, children are more likely to ask for products outright after viewing them during television commercials. This does not rule out ads that are seen online or in magazines either.

What Does This Mean for Marketers?

  • Current family dynamics must be understood where decision-making is concerned. This is paramount in persuading families to make product purchases with their children on board.
  • Never underestimate the power a child has over a purchase decision. Include the use of children for marketing purposes, such as branding and advertising. Attracting a young consumer is just as important as attracting an adult.
  • A lot of research has to go into understanding the types of stores where kids have the most influence. This can help create advertising that will appeal to them and expand markets by producing product types that are more appealing to a certain age group. A good example of this is a trip to the local grocery store or clothing store. Children always ask for items in both of these places and are most often granted their request.

Potentially, this means that marketing and advertising need to consider targeting the right audience, even if the audience has yet to grow into their parent’s shoes. Young consumers are becoming a larger influence in many industries. Understanding this concept can lead a company to better sales and an appreciation of current demographics.


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