There is a ton of great content and research on marketing to millennials, how to influence Baby Boomers, or what types of messaging most appeal to Gen X. However, what type of products, messaging and channels appeals to today’s youngest generations? Our younger generations – the future spenders – certainly need to be taken into consideration. According to research by the NRF, 90% of parents say their children influence their purchase decisions.
This purchase influence does not just extend to products or services specifically for the child. While 48% have reported that decisions have been influenced for kid-oriented products, more than one-third (36%) also report that their children have influence over purchase decisions for the entire household.
The top-influenced product categories include toys and games (92%), toys and shoes (91%), food and drink (88%), dining out (87%) and events and outings (85%).
The top considerations of the purchase that children influence most are the specific brand to consider (52%), the product features that are important (48%), and, the specific retailers to consider (41%).
Almost three-quarters (72%) of parents say they involve their children in the beginning stage of the purchase journey, allowing them to research products in-store (69%), online (67%), and by watching commercials (60%). Some even go so far as to encourage their children to add items to a wish list or shopping cart (56%).
In another study by Wunderman Thompson, research shows that money spent on advertising to kids has been steadily rising in recent years, with digital channels taking an increasing role. The study focuses on Generation Alpha, children aged 6-16 years. This generation has grown up streaming videos, with social media, cell phones, and always-on digital media on multiple devices and screens.
To understand Generation Alpha, the research initially looked at what is important to this generation. Family (71%) by far outranked other values. Friends (43%) and happiness (31%) were also strong contenders.
In spite of this generation growing up as digital natives, they are able to look past their gadgets. For example, this age group would prefer to slit their time equally between outdoors and indoors (47%), and 47% stated they would like to work outdoors when they grow up.
It is unsurprising that Alphas want to buy from companies that behave responsibly toward the environment and society. 66% of those surveyed said they would like to buy from companies that are trying to do good in the world.
The concept of influencer marketing is extremely strong with this generation. While friends and family have an impact, over half (55%) of Alphas want to buy something if they see their favorite Youtuber or Instagram star wearing or consuming it. Only 3% more children cite friends as a bigger influence than influencers or bloggers.
14% of children say the thing they would most like to change about shopping would be for influencers and social media stars to have their own retail outlet.
So where and how should brands be advertising to capture the attention of this generation? Online videos lead the pack at 24% with social media posts (19%) and TV adverts (19%) also ranking highly.
A large percentage of Alphas (57%) say seeing social media advertising makes them want to buy those products. This is higher (59%) for 10-12-year olds, and higher yet (32%) for 13-16-year olds. Social media is also a good place to influence this generation as children tag each other on social media. For example, 41% tag their friends on Instagram when they see something they want to buy.
Technology has certainly shaped every generation on how we research, shop and purchase products and services. E-commerce is growing by leaps and bounds and Amazon is now a preferred way of shopping for many Americans. However, 29% of children and their parents continue to buy most of their things from supermarkets, but Amazon is close behind at 26%.
And the future is getting closer. When asked how this generation would like to shop in 10-20 years’ time, over 1 in 10 children said shopping with our minds.
Perhaps the technology isn’t here yet, but this generation is influencing decisions now and brands will need to rethink their strategies for a new age of digitally-native consumers.
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