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Kids are tomorrow’s shoppers and sustainability is a high priority

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

14 Jul 2021

Business

Image: Unsplash by Dante LaBella

Gen Z and even Gen Alpha are fast becoming tomorrow’s shoppers, according to research from target audience company GWI Kids, with 15 percent stating that they shopped online in the last week, rising to a quarter among those who have access to a bank account.

The ‘Kids These Days’ report delves into the attitudes, behaviours and beliefs of over 15,400 kids aged 8-15 and found that a third of teens are turning to social media to engage with their favourite brands.

Content such as funny posts and memes resonate well with teens, but they also expect posts to be balanced with “light-hearted” posts that reiterate a retail brand’s CSR and commitment to addressing wider societal issues, which GWI Kids states is valued highly by this generation.

GWI Kids adds that while few teens are making digital purchases, with around one in three using social media to engage with their favourite brands, retailers need to focus on establishing bonds with this audience that can endure into adulthood. Humour is one of the best ways to create a “positive, long-lasting impression” among teen audiences.

Jason Mander, chief research officer at GWI, said in a statement: “When it comes to younger audiences, many brands lack the insights into how kids think, feel and interpret the world around them.

“Kids are the next generation of consumers, so it’s crucial to incorporate their values in your brand strategy. Attitudes expressed at this age are also a good indication of how tomorrow’s consumers will think and act, and what traits are likely to set them apart.”

Humour is a great way for brands to engage with kids and teens on social media

When it comes to which social media channels they use it isn’t just about video-based ones like TikTok and Snapchat, like Gen Zs, 13-15s also lean more heavily on Instagram than Facebook.

Influencers also resonate strongly with young audiences, with teens more likely to say they mainly log onto social platforms to see influencer content than brand posts. This content is more fashion-conscious, with girls at the forefront of this trend, with 43 percent saying following influencers is a top use for social media, compared to 32 percent of boys. In contrast to other 12-to 15-year-old girls, influencer followers are 37 percent more likely to say having the latest fashion is important.

Equality and sustainability “top of mind” for teens

The research, which marks the largest international kids dataset, adds that equality and sustainability are top of mind for teens. 44 percent of 12-to 15-year-olds said that caring for the planet is important to them, which is higher than priorities typically associated with this age group, like caring about peers’ opinions (28 percent) or being up-to-date on the latest fashion trends (23 percent).

This is reflected in children’s expectations of brands when it comes to environmentally friendly practices and CSR policies more broadly, with GWI Kids adding that “living and breathing these values should be every brand’s top priority”.

Mander added: “As our research shows, kids are extremely influential in consumption habits, so it’s crucial to consider the thoughts and behaviours of this younger audience and tailor your ideas accordingly. Ideas work better with solid insight behind them, and so placing this audience front and centre will drive the most success.”

GWI Kids explores the attitudes and behaviours of 15,418 internet users aged 8-15 across 14 markets globally - Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the US.