What Influence Do Kids Have On Family Spending?

Have you underestimated pester power? Pester power is the ability children have to make their parents buy something, by asking for it many times until they get it. Less than 50% of Irish parents tend to resist giving in to their children’s pester power, with 9 out of 10 parents reporting that their children demand things when out shopping together.

According to a recent study by Facebook IQ, 62% of parents with teenagers believe their kids have more influence on their purchasing decisions than they had over their parents before them; and 71% of parents believe their kids hold sway over how much they spend on products.

However, this doesn’t merely relate to children’s products. In fact, 64% of parents believe that their children influence their decisions on where to go on vacation, and 43% report that decisions on where to live are influenced by their children.

So what are the implications of this? As one could infer from the clear rules governing advertising to children, this isn’t a call to target children in your marketing campaign. Instead, it is a question of including children, and the family unit as a whole, in the discussion.

“Brands need to acknowledge the growing circle of influence kids, family members, and friends have on parents’ decision making, and how this web of influence transforms through the parenting journey. As children grow, parents are happy – proud even – to have their input.” Facebook IQ

Where do you start?

What Influence Do Kids Have On Family Spending?What Influence Do Kids Have On Family Spending?Choose which platforms are most relevant to your core audience, and your brand

Stay up to date

Children are at the leading edge of technological innovation, often staying one step ahead of their parents on the latest social media trends. Meanwhile, modern parents are seven times more likely to refer to Facebook than magazines, when making family purchase decisions. So make sure you engage your audience on social media.

But don’t spread your brand too thinly across multiple social media platforms. There’s no need to have an account with every single outlet if you’re not going to have useful content on them. Instead, choose which platforms are most relevant to your core audience, and your brand. Once you know which platforms to focus on, ensure that what you post is engaging, topical, and well timed. Stick to a clear marketing plan, rather than posting haphazardly in the hope some of it will stick.

What Influence Do Kids Have On Family Spending_ - see their families in advertising eumom

Show What Real Families Look Like

Nothing will make millennial families switch off quicker than outdated and stereotypical views of family life. In a recent eumom survey, only 44% of respondents said that they regularly see their families in advertising. At the same time, 85% said they like to see diverse visions of families in adverts. Pay attention to the profile of your customer base, and make the effort to represent what modern families look like in all their forms.

We live in a selfie generation. But this is as important for brands, as it is for individuals. When families see themselves reflected in advertising and marketing campaigns, it shows that those brands understand them, and are paying attention to their needs.

So put away the cardboard cutout 2.4 children, frazzled mom, and DIY dad. Instead, find the individual stories, and real people. Show families who have all sorts of different interests, backgrounds, and looks. Not only is it more relevant and engaging to kids and modern parents, it’s also much more interesting!

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Utilise visuals

With instant connectivity and realms of information at fingertips with most adults, and many children owning smartphones, it’s important to get the message across quickly and with maximum engagement.

“We’re treating our kids more like adults than ever before,” Digitas said in a report about the findings. When its researchers interviewed a panel of 10-to-13-year-olds, they found that kids today are tech-savvy and demanding. All of the kids either had a cell phone or knew when they’d be getting their own.

The best way to do this is with strong visuals and infographics, which stand out from the page. This generation of children has grown up with multiple screens, easy and fast access to new information, and an inundation of adverts and ‘the latest’ products. This means that the demand for transformation and new ideas to hold their attention is higher than ever before.

What Influence Do Kids Have On Family Spending?Growing up in a world where technology is second nature, children are fast becoming ‘teachers’ to their parents

Focus on being user-friendly

To engage the family market, it’s important to offer information, and products, that are as accessible and easy to use as possible. But this is not because of a need to engage younger children.

In fact, growing up in a world where technology is second nature, children are fast becoming ‘teachers’ to their parents, who are often playing catch up. This can be used as an opportunity: Brands can earn parents’ trust and help build their confidence in products and services by helping them to stay informed. And a simple way to do this is by ensuring that your website, and social media output, are mobile-friendly.

What Influence Do Kids Have On Family Spending_ family

Emphasise the good you can offer

Today, more than ever, it is just as important for brands to promote their values, as it is to promote products. With growing interest in peer-review and family discussion; you need to appeal to children’s interest, as well as parents’ reasoning.

Pester power’ may suggest that children merely wear their parents into submission (and this may sometimes be the case) but for brands to create a lasting relationship they need to reach both generations without causing rifts between the two. Children’s influence should be absorbed and considered, but those who earn the money and run the household will have the final decision. (Rather like a board of directors!)

What Influence

And what are the main areas in which children can exert their influence?

62% of parents surveyed say their children influence where they go on holiday, 70% say they influence how families spend their free time, and 71% have a say in how much is spent. But this doesn’t necessarily have to directly concern children. According to research, a tenth of parents seek fashion advice from their kids, and three out of five consult their kids before buying a car — a figure which has increased by nearly 20% in the last 3 years.

Not only are children your loyal customers of the future, they are having a much bigger say in the present, than previous generations. So don’t underestimate the spending power of the entire family unit.


Want to know how ZMG can help your brand? Drop us a line and we’d be happy to chat.