International Children’s Day 2015: Children are the Smartest Consumers

International Children’s Day 2015: Children are the Smartest Consumers

International Children’s Day is marked on June 1 each year, but the conversation about the children of today and their impact on our shopping decisions goes on every single day. Tamar Ben Abir, Digital Content and Assets Manager at Strauss Fresh Foods and Salty Snacks division, describes this emerging transformation.

Whether you have young children or teenagers, you probably remember the experience of buying clothes, food and other products for them. Most of you must have preferred to go by yourselves without that exhausting shopping round with its yelling: “Mom, buy me this thing! But Dad, everybody’s got one!”. The goal: run the purchase mission and go back home with your shopping.

Total exposure = captive audience? Reality has changed. While in the past, children’s fashion brands could only be found in posh catalogs in stores,  today they are available on an entry page to the app, on a banner in a home page or on a Facebook page – the web is flooded with the newest collection. Children today are exposed to products on billboards, near school or even in their own WhatsApp group.

We can’t hide information from our children about the vast offering on the market, and as a result, children share very significant consumer decisions at home, and particularly in their food categories. As parents find it difficult to raise and feed their children the way they would like to, their children are being increasingly affected by ads and commercial companies. Even in advanced countries where they regulates advertising and try to market quality, healthier food for children, the decisive factor in the end is the child’s choice. If children refuse to eat a product, no matter how healthy it is, we can’t force them and “sell” them the health and nutritional values behind each product. Children are a captive audience.

According to a study conducted in the U.S. 3 years ago, the American child watches approximately 40,000 T.V. commercials per year. And that’s just television. Don’t forget that when watching their favorite children’s program through the iPad, browsing a game app or viewing YouTube clips, they are exposed to quite a few ads on the web that try to “hunt” this exact audience.

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Generation Y was also born into a world of advanced technology and computers, but Generation Z was already born in a whole new era- the world of touch screens, smart devices and top-notch cellular phones

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A different generation? Obviously! When it comes to children, an emphasis should be placed on the division into generations. Here, we will address generation Z, a generation born just after  Generation Y. Both have very similar characteristics. You may identify some of your own characteristics in each generation, but the main difference between them is that Generation Z is a generation born into the world of technology.

True, Generation Y was also born into a world of advanced technology and computers, but Generation Z was already born in a whole new era- the world of touch screens, smart devices and top-notch cellular phones. Interestingly, almost 60% of Generation Z have very high consumer awareness, and prefer to save their money or spend it on smart purchases.

Unlike their predecessors, Generation Y children that would spend hours in shopping malls, 70% of them will make their purchases online. Of course, not before they compare prices on the social networks, check advanced forums, compare with friends and only then make the purchase - to their door step. The preferences adopted by teenagers of this generation at a younger age are kept on for later years, and as soon as their parents give them pocket money or a smart credit card, they buy. You will often find yourselves or other parents consulting with the children about product purchasing, or even doing a pre-shopping market survey on websites in order to compare prices and offering.  

Smart marketing On the one hand, we as marketing people want to sell things in intelligent ways, try to reach consumers in original ways, change product packs with famous images from children's movies, and attach surprise figurines to snack packs. On the other hand, we know that the impact of every child with over 1,000 followers on social media, who writes a negative post on one of our brands, can hurt us much more than any other consumer complaint.      

So what's next? The next time you are faced with a large campaign budget, don't forget to give a larger share to digital and not expect this generation to sit and wait in the commercial break for their new product. Chance are that in between programs they will be busy watching a new episode directly on the web, listening to a song on YouTube in the background, writing to their friends on WhatsApp and posting another photo on Instagram. So you had better make sure that you are there too, but only as advertisers, because as parents you will probably embarrass them.

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