Do digital kids have more purchasing influence?

Discussion
Jul 02, 2015

According to a recent YouGov Omnibus Parents Survey (sent to parents of children ages six to 17), 16 percent of kids send online links to their parents while nine percent use social sharing sites like Pinterest or Instagram in order to influence parental purchases.

Although no past comparisons were available, the survey appeared to show how kids are becoming savvier purchase influencers, whether through technology or other ways:

  • Half of children research products and services before they purchase; more so as they get older (64 percent);
  • Kids are using both online (39 percent) and in-store coupons (39 percent), with both numbers far higher for teens (about 50 percent for each coupon type);
  • Thirty four percent prefer to shop where they have a reward or loyalty card (also higher for teens at 40 percent).

With their kids having had to deal with the Great Recession, most parents (63 percent) believe that their children understand the value of money, and make smart spending decisions (59 percent).

YouGov chart

Still, the survey found the top "pester-power tactic," according to 71 percent of parents, is old-fashioned verbal negotiation. Bartering by promising to do additional chores or getting better grades (50 percent), creating wish lists (45 percent) and offering to pay for part of the object of their desire (42 percent) are also favored strategies.

Among the areas where kids hold the most influence are restaurants, many grocery items, entertainment options and vacations. Additionally, parents often take the backseat to their kids’ preferences when it comes to apparel and footwear choices with 44 percent and 50 percent, respectively, saying their kids independently choose what they want and 70 percent saying the choice of where to shop for these items is either driven entirely by kids or is made as a joint decision with parents.

Do you think kids’ digital prowess gives them a stronger influence on household purchasing decisions? Should retailers look to assist kids in influencing parental purchases? If so, how?

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Braintrust
"I think parents will look at any retailer-branded app with a certain amount of jadedness. "Oh great, you’re going to help my kid annoy me for things even more. Thanks.""
"Just watch, if this survey is done next year the numbers will be increased dramatically. Kids know better than us how to get the word out to their friends who will try the same successful tactic."
"This is the first all-digital generation. They not only haven’t seen, but also can’t imagine, not having ubiquitous digital access. While they may be attempting to influence parental behavior now, just wait for the demands they’ll put on retailers."

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11 Comments on "Do digital kids have more purchasing influence?"


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Nikki Baird
Guest
Nikki Baird
3 years 10 months ago
I don’t know that it is more influential, so much as more specific. My 10-year-old daughter texts me links to specific products that she wants. It doesn’t make it more likely that she gets them, but for birthdays, for example, I know that she wants this specific shirt in purple instead of that she wants “some clothes.” And when she wants a new app for her phone, she directs me straight to the reviews because she knows I won’t approve it without looking at those first. So I guess I can agree with the idea that kids are savvier about asking for stuff. It doesn’t mean that they’ll get it, though. Should retailers make this process easier? I think parents will look at any retailer-branded app with a certain amount of jadedness. “Oh great, you’re going to help my kid annoy me for things even more. Thanks.” But I think there is room for a non-retailer specific app that could help facilitate sharing what kids want with the people who might buy them things periodically.… Read more »
Quentin Smelzer
Guest
3 years 10 months ago

I think, no question, retailers should assist kids to influence parental purchases but the key, in my mind, is to do this in the context of making life easier not harder. Push notifications should be handled with an understanding of the customer in context and the wrapper should be assisting the purchase process, not a hard sell.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
3 years 10 months ago

Kids are smart. They know better now than we did at any age even close to the ages of the survey. They know how to get their parents’ attention because the parents today are spending even more time than the children on some form of social media. The kids also know how to pester and annoy the parents to get what they want. The more the kids interfere with the parents’ social media time the quicker they are to get what they want. Just watch, if this survey is done next year the numbers will be increased dramatically. Kids know better than us how to get the word out to their friends who will try the same successful tactic.

Cathy Hotka
Guest
3 years 10 months ago

This is the first all-digital generation. They not only haven’t seen, but also can’t imagine, not having ubiquitous digital access. While they may be attempting to influence parental behavior now, just wait for the demands they’ll put on retailers.

Adrian Weidmann
Guest
3 years 10 months ago

The use of technology may help to communicate the details of a particular item but I’m not convinced these digital technologies will provide a stronger influence. The old adage that a picture is worth 1,000 words will certainly hold true. Whether it’s Pinterest, Instagram or simply a photo of a particular item of interest, the image will accurately communicate the message. Brands and retailers that can provide quality product images and make those images readily available to shoppers (of all ages!) will increase their value to their shoppers while helping the communication gap between generations.

Dan Raftery
Guest
3 years 10 months ago

So what is new here? Having raised two great kids before they could have “digital prowess,” I have to say that the list of decision influences looks pretty familiar.

Gordon Arnold
Guest
3 years 10 months ago

Are we seeing more influence or better tools for the digital youth? Children have leveraged billions of dollars in retail sales since the beginning of organized families. This is no secret to the successful marketing mavens that have played into this condition. What we have in the digital age is the improved ability for children to locate the product, price and third-party support for a buy. The good news is we will purchase more of the things our youngsters want and will use. The bad news is that it may be harder and harder to say no.

Gajendra Ratnavel
Guest
3 years 10 months ago

Yes, absolutely. Parents also understand the power of doing research online. Kids are better at it than them. Best way is to target the kids through product placements in games, social media, YouTube videos, etc.

Joan Treistman
Guest
3 years 10 months ago

Kids tugging at my sleeve is what I remember from the little but significant influencers in my family…way back when. So digital changes how the tug is enacted.

I do see a bright spot all around in that digital generates a longer interval for the now in “I want it now” and perhaps an opportunity for some objectivity with regard to the purchase overall and the product specifically.

While I believe the conclusions of the research, it’s interesting to note that the data shown represents occasions where children are known to influence purchases. There’s no percentage given of those households where kids do not influence. Maybe there is no such thing. But the chart illustrates the proportion of occasions where the “Child picks independently or with parent,” “Child shares opinions: these influence purchase;” “Child’s likes and dislikes are already known for purchase.” I don’t see a percentage representing “Child does not influence purchase.”

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
3 years 10 months ago

Well, let’s see… For decades ready-to-eat breakfast cereal has traditionally been merchandised at the eye level of children to aid their influence on those purchases. LOL — I see this as today’s opportunity for retailers and CPG brands to place their products where kids are today… on their screens!

Seeta Hariharan
Guest
3 years 10 months ago
As the YouGovOmnibus graph shows, “kids making choices independently” or by “sharing their opinions to influence their parent’s purchasing decisions” is the majority influencer in all of the examples sited. While the “pester-power” tactic is listed at the top influencer overall, I believe digital prowess helps kids determine what choices to select and gives them the information needed to back those choices. As the first generation of digital natives, the millennials, start their own families, we should expect that technology will have even greater influence over the family unit, whether it be for shopping, staying connected, or for generally make life easier. A fully active digital household will bring more opportunity to savvy retailers who are able to gather and understand data from across the household as a collective unit. Many retailers today already send targeted offerings based on an individual view of their customer’s likes, dislikes, shopping history, so it’s not unrealistic to envision loyalty programs and marketing offers built on realizing end-to-end the trends and decisions of the house hold at large. In… Read more »
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Braintrust
"I think parents will look at any retailer-branded app with a certain amount of jadedness. "Oh great, you’re going to help my kid annoy me for things even more. Thanks.""
"Just watch, if this survey is done next year the numbers will be increased dramatically. Kids know better than us how to get the word out to their friends who will try the same successful tactic."
"This is the first all-digital generation. They not only haven’t seen, but also can’t imagine, not having ubiquitous digital access. While they may be attempting to influence parental behavior now, just wait for the demands they’ll put on retailers."

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