Richie Rich Kids

Image courtesy funonline.inBy Christopher Zoukis

Last year, over $2 billion was spent on marketing to children, according to MediaChannel, which is a non-profit media monitor. MarketResearch.com estimates the direct buying power of children to be around $60 billion per year. This money will be spent on food, candy, video games, clothing, sports, and electronics.

There are 24 million children in the United States between of 6 and 11, which is 8% of the total population. According to the U.S. Census, children will account for 24% of the total population by the year 2020. And all these children are internet savvy. In fact, the internet is their medium of choice. In 2007, 57% of children age 11 or younger were online. Twenty percent of them have computers in their bedrooms. More than 5 million children between the ages of 6 and 17 have their own websites. At the present juncture, the most internet-savvy children are in New York City, Miami, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Tampa, Florida.

Children between the ages of 8 and 14 spend $6.9 billion per year on cosmetic products for their hair and skin. According to the Food Industry Council, children between age 5 and 14 control $10 billion worth of food and beverage purchases, and directly influence an additional $20 billion spent on the same items.

Four million children live in gay or lesbian households. Their parents spent more than $22 billion on luxury products and services for them. Single-parent households account for 30% of all children. Of these children, regardless of household demographics, those between age 4 and 12 have direct control over $4 billion of spending power.

The average child in the U.S. sees 55 television commercials daily, and 61% of them have a television in their bedroom. Of children age 4 to 6, 98% watch television for two hours or more per day.

All the statistics related above lead to one significant question: how to market luxury products to the children of affluent parents? Directmag.com (DM) offers some practical answers to that question.

The simplest methods are to run space ads in parenting magazines, rent children’s catalogue lists, and participate in marketing campaigns on family-oriented websites. DM also suggests using data-mining techniques to identify demographic and demographic patterns. In fact, DM recommends ClientLogic Specialists Marketing Services, which specializes in youth market information. This data can be used to identify and target demand for specific luxury products. For example, statistics demonstrate that families with teenagers use multiple cell phones with texting capabilities, iPods, laptop computers, and BluRay discplayers.

What it comes down to, according to DM, is analyzing purchasing patterns. This information can then be used to identify and target potential buyers of luxury products and services.

Newdream.org believes that the hidden factor in marketing to children is the “nag factor.” The nag factor is initiated by advertising. Once children have seen a product advertised and identified with it, they will ask their parents for the product nine times. At that point, most parents usually give in. In fact, more than 55% of children indicated that their parents usually give in and buy the product. The important thing to remember concerning the nag factor is this: children must be exposed to the product and identify with it. In other words, the product must connect emotionally with the child.

Media-Awareness calls the nag factor “pester power.” And according to Kidfluence, pester power can be broken down into two categories: “persistence” and “importance.” Studies have shows that “importance nagging” is the most potent. “Importance nagging” hits the parents with a double-whammy: their guilt for not spending enough time with their children and their desire to provide the “best” for their children.

This means sellers need to be aware of the psychology of children. Why do they want things? Child psychologists have determined that children want recognition and status, just like adults. To children, status usually revolves around the concept of popularity, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). Children want to be well-liked by their friends and peers. Part of being popular is having the right things or wearing the right brands.