Pros & Cons of Research with Kids
There are about 73 million children (under 18) in the US. This group, which accounts for almost a quarter of our nation’s population, has an incredible say in the market even though they may not even have wallets yet. Conducting research for this audience is important both for brands currently looking to appeal to children as well as companies who want to understand their future customers. Here are some pros and cons to consider if your brand is thinking of commissioning research with kids:
Their Parents Like to Spend
Parents love to provide for their children. Today’s parents are spending more on their kids than ever before, accounting for billions of dollars in annual spending. A quarter of US consumers purchased toys in early 2021. In 2020, half of younger parents planned on spending more on entertainment for their children. Conducting market research on children helps brands understand which products and content can appeal to the audience. Brands can then turn to the parents and demonstrate how their products meet their child’s needs.
They’re Passionate and They Show It
It can sometimes seem like kids are just young innocent little people who are unaware of worldly issues happening around them, but this could not be further from the truth. As the most diverse generation, they are exposed to many of the same situations we think about regarding the working class–and they notice. Today’s kids hold strong opinions about some of the world’s biggest issues from school safety to gender equality. They also express their concerns with these issues as freely as some adults. One in 5 children have marched or protested about an issue they are passionate about. As adults are already forming opinions on companies based on their takes on worldly topics, brands should take an early opportunity to see what topics the next wave of consumers are thinking about.
They are Our Future Consumers
As mentioned before, understanding what children like can help a brand cater to parents for short term purchases. However, brands can work in advance to seek out developing behaviors and trends that can predict what these generations will care about when they are older. Brands can get a head start developing products and marketing campaigns that will appeal to these kids when they are older and have their own spending power.
They Lack Immediate Purchasing Power
Though kids may be influential in their parent’s purchasing decisions, at the end of the day, they may not have the final say in spending. Though it could be lucrative to gain insight into the needs of future audiences, some companies may be looking to assess immediate needs. It could be more beneficial for these brands to conduct research on parents as opposed to children. Millennial parents say that their children’s habits influence their purchases. Speaking to or surveying parents could be more effective for examining the current pool of consumers.
They are Difficult to Reach
Gathering children for research is not as simple as it is for adults. Recruitment can be difficult and costly. Children are not directly connected to survey marketplaces or recruitment lists. This means researchers are really recruiting parents to volunteer and supervise their kids during the research. This factor puts an extra layer of targeting on top of other aspects that need to be accounted for in a specific study.
Developing Kid Friendly Research Requires Additional Innovation and Compliance
Conducting research among kids requires an immense amount of thoughtfulness and creativity. Survey questions and research guides must be engaging and easy to understand. They also must include age-appropriate material. Extra care must be taken to select the appropriate type of methodology for the targeted age group. For example, quantitative research among children under 5 years old is extra challenging. In all cases, parents will likely need to assist their children through the research. Finally, research on children must follow strict COPPA requirements which include revealing the research topic and how the research will be used.
Developing research for younger audiences can give brands insights into how they influence their parents current spending as well as help them predict what future trends may develop as kids grow older. Companies should consider these plusses and minuses, decide what their needs are, and evaluate whether speaking to tomorrow’s consumers can help them today.
Interested in reading more in our Pros and Cons series? Check out our other blogs here.
- The Pros & Cons of In-Depth Interviews vs. Focus Groups
- The Pros & Cons of Market Research
- The Pros and Cons of Brand Research