While youngsters are some of the most sought-after consumers for retailers, a new Maritz Research poll has revealed that the power of their influence over family spending choices may be more limited than is commonly believed.
According to the poll, parents said that children (up to age 12) have "little influence on any type of purchase" (less than 25% felt they had a significant influence), including their own clothes, snack food or entertainment.
Even teenagers (aged 13 to 18) were found not to have the final say in such purchase decisions. In fact, on average, they have a little over 40% influence on the purchase of their own clothes.
The poll also explored what does influence purchasing decisions. Younger respondents ('Generation Y') were significantly more concerned with the status of the product, and with keeping up with friends, than were the Baby Boomers.
Generation Y also rated the "price of the product" and the "quality of the product" as being significantly less important to them than did Generation X and Baby Boomers.
According to Gloria Park Bartolone, vice president of the Retail Research Group at Maritz Research, "Younger generations are heavily influenced by how products make them appear, as well as with keeping up with technology. To appeal to them, retailers should consider leveraging the impact that technology and their peers have with viral communications campaigns and possibly a friend-driven loyalty programme."
And, the research suggests, retailers should also remember that parents, who are more likely to value quality and price, ultimately have a lot of influence over teens' purchasing decisions.
Where do youngsters get the money for their purchases? When respondents with children living in their household were asked to choose all that applied to their children, the results were as follows:
- Almost half (48%) said that their children use "money received as a gift" to make their own purchases;
- Approximately four out of ten (41%) said that their children "receive money from an allowance (pocket money);
- 35% of parents said they purchase items for their children;
- 26% of children receive money from a job.