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Today’s families are collaborative, with close relationships between parents and their children, but at the same time children are having more say in household spending than ever before. This became clear at a recent FM Redzone digitised discussion, held with ViacomCBS Africa and moderated by Tilt chief creative officer Arye Kellman.

According to research conducted by ViacomCBS Africa, children are actively involved in both large and small household buying decisions, with regard to not only purchases for themselves but also those for the entire household.

The research, which was conducted in 73 countries around the world, including SA, explored family dynamics and the role and influence children have across 26 categories. In SA more than 270 children aged 6 to 12 and their parents were canvassed for their opinions. The study found that children’s influence extends to 17 categories. Their biggest influence is in relation to entertainment, food and groceries, restaurants, electronics, holidays and telecommunications.

Children are not just using their parents’ money to buy products; 84% of them have their own money. In SA children tend to receive it in the form of cash as a gift, an allowance or in return for doing chores, among other sources. They look for guidance about where to spend their money both to their parents (89%) and online (48%).

Though the internet plays an important role in their purchasing choices, SA children still love the in-store shopping experience; 90% of children surveyed said they ask their parents to take them shopping at a store and prefer the in-store experience to shopping online.

They’re surprisingly brand conscious – 67% of them say they think it is worth paying more for the brands they like. They are open to brand messaging and 83% say they enjoy watching advertisements.

Given the scope of their influence on household buying decisions, are brands and marketers taking children seriously enough? “Brands need to include children’s opinions and recognise their broad influence on purchase decisions. In addition to engaging with everybody in the household, they need to create opportunities for families to spend together,” said ViacomCBS Africa senior director for research and insights Giuliana Dias at the Redzone event.

Lactalis SA brand manager for Melrose Kina Kimberly Mkize agreed, adding that marketers need to speak to households as a unit. A delicate balancing act is required to appeal to both children and their parents.

Don’t miss the next FM Redzone event on June 29 at 9am; the focus of the discussion will be on whether to lead with gut or with data. To register for the Mad Men vs Mad Maths online event, click here.  

The big take-out:

Children’s influence on household buying is significant, and this requires that marketers need to factor them into their marketing strategies.


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