Pester power: How kids influence household buying decisions

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Related tags: Roy morgan research

Children rule the roost when it comes to some family food choices, with offspring largely responsible for choosing most of the snack food in the Australian weekly shop.

When asked to nominate which items the kids “mainly decide​” to buy from a list of 30 products ranging from food and leisure goods to technology and toiletries, 42.3% of those aged between six and 13 years chose breakfast cereals, 42.1% said brand of sweets and 39.8% named spreads and jams. 

But while many kids may not have the final say on household buying decisions, their opinions do count. For example, 35.3% reported helping their parents decide on fast food destinations, while many more were involved in decisions on clothes, DVDs and toys. 

Levels of influence Aussie kids have over their family’s purchasing decisions
Levels of influence Aussie kids have over their family’s purchasing decisions

Not surprisingly, Australian children aged 10-13 are consistently more influential than 6-9 year-olds in their family’s purchasing decisions, and tend to use their pester power for different kinds of items than younger children. 

While the 6-9-year-old age group is most likely to exert influence over food-buying decisions, with toys being the only inedible item in their top five, older children’s input mainly decides on shoes, clothes and leisure purchases, with the only food in their top five being sweets and chocolates. 

According to Michele Levine, chief executive of Roy Morgan Research, which conducted the survey, the top five consumer products Australian children feel they “mainly decide​” to buy tend to be items with a child-focused approach to advertising. 

Breakfast cereal brands, for example, are renowned for targeting kids, whether in an aspirational way like Nutri-Grain—if you eat Nutri-Grain, it’ll help you become an iron man—or in a fun, cartoony way​,” said Levine. 

Top 5 household purchasing decisions in which Australian children ‘mainly decide’
Top 5 household purchasing decisions in which Australian children ‘mainly decide’

Froot Loops spring to mind—even their website is a technicoloured bonanza of games and videos. ‘Kidfluence’ does the rest, as children pester their parents to buy the cereal they’ve seen advertised​.”

However, as kids grow older and their tastes develop, their input into household buying decisions grows. 

Savvy marketers and brands wishing to succeed with this sought-after consumer group must be able to identify whether to target kids directly or appeal to their parents, who let’s face it ultimately control the purse strings​,” Levine added. 

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