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Children Dominate in Household Purchase Decisions

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Children have been known to throw a tantrum or two in a bid to get parents to concede to their demands. Now we have the research that proves 70% of children between the ages of 8 to 12 influence household purchases in the greater Durban region.

A MANCOSA lecturer, Ms Shamola Pramjeeth and her student Mr Rajin Maharaj  undertook research which explored the influence pre-adolescent children have in households with the purchasing of goods. Their research published in the journal, Elixir Marketing Managementtitled: An investigation into the influence of preadolescents on purchase decisions of households in middle income groupstook cognisance of young children aged between 8 to 12 from thirty households in Durban.

Research findings indicate 70 percent of children within this age group do in fact play a pivotal role in purchasing decisions within households in Durban. “The results confirmed the existence of children’s influence on purchase decisions, namely toys, clothing and food but very little in terms of large purchases like motor vehicles and electrical equipment unlike the children in India and USA. It was established that the eldest child followed by the youngest child had a major influence on purchase decisions with very little from the middle child,” said Ms Pramjeeth.

The researchers established that 56.7% of children were influenced by their peers in terms of the child’s purchase choices. “It has also been pointed out that peer influence in this age group isstronger than that experienced in teenagers and adolescents,” said the researchers.

The “pester power” mentality of preadolescent children were brought to the fore with 90% of parents agreeing that this was a popular ploy used by their children to get them (parents) to surrender to the demands. According to the research children were known to whine, nag, express anger, use guilt trips and shout to get their parents to purchase what they desire.

Surprisingly, parents disagreed that television spurred children to take on a leading role in purchasing power within the household. Only 40% of parent believed television influenced their children. However, international studies show the opposite results in countries abroad.“It appears that the TV viewing habits of South African children differs from international trends. Other studies found that children’s exposure to TV made a difference to the volume of their purchase requests. They found that the more TV children watched, the more advertisements they saw,resulting in more purchase requests.”

With the evidence to prove that children of the 21st are different from those of yester year what does one make of the preadolescent child?  “Children have to fit into the role of consumers early in their lives due to peer influence, pressures to conform, time pressures and both parents being required to work as a result of economic constraints. Children are also exposed to mass media allowing them to make more informed decisions and advanced technology allows them to keep abreast.

“The preadolescent of the 21st century and the future adult is very demanding, forcing companies to change their business models to be more consumer centric, ethical and servile brands where the needs of the consumer is now paramount,” said Ms Pramjeeth.

According to Ms Pramjeeth the research findings would benefit parents who would realise they shouldn’t be guilt tripped by their children into purchasing what they desire and instead teach them (children) responsible and sensible consumers of the future.

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