The children, tweens, teens, and the college market represent enormous potential for marketers. Marketing to this segment has a great deal to do with the psychological development of children and their dependence on their parents. As children's ages increase, their influence and independence increases. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 25.7 percent of the population, 72.3 million people, is under the age of eighteen. That represents a growth of 13.7 percent over 1990. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the number of babies born will reach 5.7 million by the year 2050. There are at least six recognized youth segments: ages 0-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, 13-15, and 16-18 with age compression and ethnic factors having an impact on each of these segments. Age compression is a term that means children are growing up more quickly than they did a generation or even a decade ago. The tweens are between the ages of nine and twelve and are replacing Barbie and Lincoln Logs with video games, clothes, and cosmetics. Children no longer have to play dress-up since they can wear children's versions of their parents' clothes from stores like Gap and Laura Ashley. A decade ago girls were interested in Barbie until they were age nine or ten years and now they lose interest at age five or six. This acceleration process is a result of access to influences and information, the speed with which trends move, and working mothers who give children the opportunity of seeing what other children do in their homes.
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Publication information: Book title: Lifestyle Marketing: Reaching the New American Consumer. Contributors: Ronald D. Michman - Author, Edward M. Mazze - Author, Alan J. Greco - Author. Publisher: Praeger. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 2003. Page number: 129.
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