Kids with a lot of dough

Consumer electronics in high demand

The Kids Consumer Analysis found that in the year 2000, German kids have more purchasing power than ever before. With a seven percent increase over the previous year, children between the ages of 6 and 17 have DM19.15 billion at their disposal. The focus of buying interest is on high-quality consumer electronics goods.

The investigation was conducted on behalf of the publishing houses Lubbke, Bauer and Axel Springer. To this end, 2206 interviews were conducted with children and adolescents aged 6 to 17 and parents to obtain an up-to-date picture of consumer behavior. The Kids Consumer Analysis has confirmed the established opinion that children are a sought-after advertising target group and that greater importance is attached to the use of PCs and the Internet.

The survey shows above all that money is now pretty much the main focus for children and young people. On average, the children surveyed earn more than DM 52 per month. These are made up of pocket money, gifts of money and remuneration from small jobs. There was no increase here compared with the previous year’s survey. Money is given on all occasions. Four-fifths of the kids receive cash on their birthdays, which averages out at DM 118. It is clear that there is also money at Christmas, here there is even an increase compared to the previous year: Eight percent still yields an average of 127 DM.

Employees would be happy about such rates of increase, but they also have to work more and more in order to provide their darlings with cash for the free time they usually don’t spend together. From the parents’ point of view, of course, it sounds much more pedagogical: "As with adults, money also plays a special role with children", says Thomas Brummer, head of the advertising department of the Lubbe publishing group. "In addition, the money in the hands of the children is from the adult’s point of view an educational component, because the kids should learn to handle it." Without parental regulation, 70 percent of those surveyed were allowed to spend their money independently. Only purchases over DM 100 cause stress at home for children under 13. Half of the 14- to 17-year-olds, on the other hand, are also free to decide on this amount.

Purchasing decisions are clearly leaning towards the consumer electronics sector. No wonder, since 5.2 million of all 6- to 17-year-olds use PCs. Computer games are the most popular leisure activity. For example, 91 percent of boys and 77 percent of girls play games. In other areas of use, such as writing texts and letters or painting, girls were in the lead with 47 percent compared to 32 percent of boys. How naturally people now use the Internet. Nevertheless, 32 percent of young people already use the Internet, with 54 percent of the 14- to 17-year-old age group being active. First and foremost, people surf the Internet, but they also search the Web for information to prepare for school. More than half of Internet users also send e-mails.

Cell phone manufacturers can expect a huge increase in the number of users. In the Kids Consumer Analysis of 1999, only two percent of young people owned cell phones; in 2000, the figure had risen to seven percent. The desire for this status object has increased even more: in 1999 it was 20 percent and in 2000 it was already 32 percent. The kids’ favorite mobile phone brands include, in decreasing order, Nokia, Siemens, Motorola and Sony. Cell phones are mainly owned by the over-14s.

Of course, the aim of such a study is not only to find out about consumer behavior in general, the market researchers also want to find out more precise market information. In the course of the last five years, young people have owned increasingly high-quality electronic devices. A positive sign for market researchers that advertising is reaching kids. The youngest group of six- to nine-year-olds, for example, has increased its ownership of CD players (1995: five percent, 2000: 15 percent). The Kids Consumer Analysis has also collected data from 539 brands in 25 industries, so that the picture of the consumer child is becoming clearer and clearer and advertising can be tailored to it. Half of the data obtained, by the way, refers to beverages and food.

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