Magazine article Marketing

Tracking Down a Lost Youth

Magazine article Marketing

Tracking Down a Lost Youth

Article excerpt

Advertisers face a rising, lucrative but fickle children's market. Now TGI is trying to pin down a moving target.

Faith Popcorn calls them Skippies -- School Kids with Incomes and Purchasing Power. Their incomes are on the up at around |pounds~8bn (despite the recession), they have increasing power over general household spending, and despite the fact that the 15-19 year-old age group is on the decline, the number of 10-14 year-olds will grow by 13% over the next decade.

Trouble is they are also an elusive market. They are the first of the interactive generation spending more time peering into Game Boy and less into TV screens, there are increasing demands on their leisure time, and shifts in attitudes happen fast.

So it's not surprising that more time and effort is going into understanding the 'young generation'. As the decade progresses, advertisers will find it increasingly difficult to reach this group, warns Richard Silman, managing director of TGI. He's just finished the first Youth TGI study, conducted in July this year and based on a sample of almost 1000 seven to 19-year-olds -- an attempt to piece together the values, spending habits and leisure activities of the young.

"Our decision to go ahead with a children's version of the adult Target Group Index (TGI) study came out of requests from advertisers and agencies, who had considered undertaking the research themselves but were deterred by the enormity of the task and the expense," says Silman.

Almost two-thirds of children in the older age group claim to take a lot of care in the way they look and this is reflected in their shopping habits. C&A tops the list for the lower age group, followed by Marks & Spencer. For 15 to 19-year-olds, however, fashion chain Top Shop/Man heads the list, with 45% citing the store as a main purchasing point.

Differences between the classes were also apparent, particularly in the area of media consumption. 20% of ABC1 11 to 14-year-olds choose the Daily Mail as their preferred paper, while among C2DEs the favourite was the Sun with 40%.

"We found incredible changes as children moved from one age group to another," says Silman, "and children seem to be maturing at a faster rate." 39% of 11 to 14-year-old boys use aftershave, but only 11% shave regularly, while 62% of 11-14 year old girls wear make-up, 66% use perfume and over half regularly remove unwanted hair. …

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