Nick Richardson is the founder and CEO of The Insights People, the global leader in kids, tweens, teens ,and parents market intelligence. He has established himself as a go-to-expert on kids’ insights and regularly speaks at events in the UK, Europe ,and the US.
The Insights People surveys more than 125,000 children annually across eight countries. They are also specialists in UK parents’ insights, with a panel of more than 10,000 parents and expectant parents. Their real-time data portal and quarterly reports are utilized by a client base that includes the BBC, Disney, Ofcom, Sky, Turner, and Warner Bros. You can find Nick on Twitter @kidsinsights@nickrmarketing and The Insights People @theinsightsppl.
Starting a new decade always provides a chance to reflect, to try and consider what we were doing at the start of the last decade, and to contemplate how things have changed. When we kicked off 2010, the world was a very different place – we had Mothercare, Toys R Us and even Blockbuster. We did not have Brexit, GDPR, Netflix, and TikTok!
The world has changed, and kid’s ecosystems have changed forever; they will not go back to how they were, and the speed of change as we move forward will only intensify. Quite simply, the old strategies are redundant, and as an industry, as organizations, and as individuals, we need to reconsider our approach, and furthermore we must do this quickly.
The breath of companies and individuals we work with, across multiple sectors and multiple functions provides us with a fortunate and distinctive view. The comforting news for you all is no matter if you are in Entertainment, FMCG, Policy, Publishing, Retail, Sports or even our beloved Toy industry, the feedback is the same “we are in a state of flux, we need to do things differently but we don’t know how to do it”.
We hear continually that brand owners recognize that their advertising & media strategies are not working and are unsure of how to evaluate the impact of their ad spend and ultimately measure their ROI.
We are also increasingly hear of organizations who are quite simply terrified of what to do, and in some cases, are even questioning whether they should be creating products or campaigns specifically for kids in fear of the repercussions. We also see how business opportunities come, go, and ultimately resurface remodeled, leaving us some of us to no doubt think is it all worth it?
Well what we can tell you, from what we are seeing, it is absolutely worth it.
We all know that this generation of children is like no other, being constantly connected and increasingly financially empowered and enabled. Technology is fuelling these rapid changes, and children are becoming more connected at a younger age than they ever were. In fact, our data shows us that 92% of 3-6-year-olds in the UK own an internet enable mobile device, and this has increased by 10% from last year. Our data also emphasizes the tech use of children in the US, with 1 in 4 3-10 year olds saying they spend between 1 and 4 hours gaming on the weekend. They have far greater spending power than any previous generation, and their influence power goes well beyond toys and entertainment, to holidays; two-thirds of kids influence their parents, and even new cars, which 36% of kids say they influence their parents’ choice.
And to put it into numbers according to our data, yearly expenditure on food/drinks/snacks by kids’ totals £2bn in the UK and $16.6bn in the US. UK kids are also spending £1.9bn per year on fashion (clothes, shoes, and accessories) while kids in the US spend $22.7bn. Tech/digital spend rivals this offline expenditure. UK kids are spending £1.2bn on new technology and £1.1bn on video games per year, while in the US they are spending $6.2bn on new tech and $7bn on video games each year.
These figures are huge and will have a massive impact on the industry as a whole. Failure to understand and engage with today’s children does not affect your business today, but will ultimately affect your business's destiny and your ability to cultivate your next generation of consumers.
So how do I do this, how do I prepare myself and my business for this next generation?
Well, the first stage has to be developing an understanding; quite frankly how can you even start to head in a certain direction, if you don’t understand the terrain, the opportunities, the challenges and ultimately what children’s attitudes, behavior and consumption are?
And what I mean by understanding is not as simple as what they bought yesterday, or what they watched last week. It's how their collective and individual ecosystems are made up. That may sound too jargonistic, but our view, which is backed up time and time again, on a daily basis, is that everything is connected. If children are spending less time watching TV, they have more time to do something else, if they are spending less money on sweets & candy, they have more money to spend on something else. Furthermore, what children are doing today will have an impact on the choices they make in the future. Important links between play and child development are also visible in our data. Based on our UK data, kids aged 6-9 who play with construction toys the most are 38% more likely than average to want to become an engineer when they’re older. Likewise, kids who play with electronic and digital toys the most are 50% more likely to want an IT/Computer related career. Our data highlights a similar story in the US, with 6-12-year olds who aspire towards a career in IT/Computing saying their favorite school subject is IT/Computing 72% more than average. YouTuber/ Vlogger is the 4th most popular career amongst 6-12-year olds in the US, demonstrative of how their changing entertainment options are influencing how they imagine their futures.
We know that where adults are concerned, there is almost a never-ending supply of real-time data, providing detailed analytics based on consumers behaviors and consumption. But this is simply not the case for kids with the recent and welcomed changes to legislation. Gathering this intel, this data, these behaviors is much harder to do for children, and this means for intent and purpose, the industry is flying blind.
There are companies that offer kids research, data, and insights and from what I see, there were traditionally two types – the ones that are simply doing research, to sell their agenda – be it, social media influencer campaigns, encouraging organizations to invest in apps or their own IP. And those who are employed on a reactive basis to help a client understand a very specific detail, at a very specific time, providing data on historical activities.
And that’s where we come in and what sets us apart. As a start we can provide you with high quality, statistically significant, data agnostic and independent data with no agenda. Furthermore, we can provide you the ability to track and evaluate data in real-time; give you the opportunity to view, filter, and interrogate the data to build specific insights to meet your needs.
This approach enables us to provide our clients with a solution which is completely unique, and from what I have observed, the only genuine solution to help you define and understand your audience and ultimately enable you to become on the front foot. Our development plans are not just focussed on launching into new markets, but to improve everything we do, and make it easier for our clients to be able to understand the kid’s ecosystem and their intended audiences’ attitudes, behavior, and consumption. We will help you make informed decisions before plowing millions into advertising, content, licensing, marketing, or new product initiatives, which may not work.
The data is also there to help you drive revenue and efficiencies to impact your bottom line; dozens of our clients use our data to build a narrative to engage and influence buyers into listing and investing in their products, and we are increasingly providing data and insights for clients to add to their sell sheets.
Surely you must agree that is the time to start looking at things from a different perspective and to ultimately get ahead of the trends?
Please do get in touch and let us show you what we do, explain how our data, insights and strategic capabilities help inform clients advertising, content, licensing, marketing, product and retail strategies. Ultimately, what we want to ensure that when we enter 2030, you are here, your business is prospering, and we are beside you as a key partner.
To download a complimentary 2020 Future Forecast report, visit kidsinsights.com/futureforecast.