A study on role of children in family buying behaviour.

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Research Inspiration

It was a regular family gatherings- seniors stuff mostly and I was bored. Meanwhile, my cousin offered me to play a game called Mini Militia. He teased me on my poor game skills. My cousin is a 3 yr old nursery going child. We have to agree that kids these days are way smarter than we were at their age. Children’s convincing power cannot be overlooked in today’s modern world where they come in touch with every new market trends. Often called as Pester Power- the nagging effect that children exhibit over their parents which is increasing day by day with the increase in small family structure where child remains the center of importance. Hence, children constitute an important target market segment from a marketing perspective. The role that children play in making decisions concerning the entire family unit has prompted researchers to direct attention to the study of influence of children.

The inspiration for this research also emerged from my workplace. We were in the process of implementing a classroom management system called Edcrayon in two schools of Kathmandu- St.Xavier and Triyog. While training the software to teachers and children, I noticed that there was a positive zeal in children while learning with ICT integrated in classrooms. Many children even said that they would ask their parents to buy them learning software like Edcrayon so that they can use it in homes too. This got me thinking that children could be one great target market if we were to market these kind of products.

Research Gap

The influence of children in family decision-making has been a much too neglected subject of inquiry. Practically all research has centered upon the husband- wife dyad and ignored the role of children. Children, as would be expected, have an important role in the Western nuclear family. Not much research has been done on the role of children influence in Eastern countries especially in Nepal. Many researchers have been concerned with children’s responses to different kinds of television programming and advertising appeals. They have also studied patterns of child behaviors within the store setting. But there appears to be a void in the research of family decision-making in exploring children influence. There is a trend in Nepalese market that generally only FMCG brands or child related products target children through advertisements. In western research, there has been studies of children influence on various other products categories like durable. There is a need to explore children influence in various product categories so that marketers don’t miss out on children who may be their important target market.

Objectives

  • To identify and analyze the most effective socialization factor that influences children.
  • To examine the different influence strategies children, use to persuade their parents.
  • To test influential factors and strategies for different product categories in family buying behavior.

Theoretical framework

This research aims to explore the dimensions of children’s role in family buying process and produces a model for understanding the factors influencing a child’s role. For this, a model of research has been proposed. The model studies how a child is socialized and how this level of consumer socialization impacts different product categories and same for influence strategies used by children. The detailed literature review helped in converting the research questions into different hypotheses. The theoretical framework is based on a key paper by Chaudhary and Gupta (2012)

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Research Methodology

In order to conduct the study, convenience non-probability samples was used and 176 samples was taken from the population who are the parents of 6-12-year-old children. The data was collected from two schools in Kathmandu namely Kathmandu international school located at Gaurighat and Bagmati boarding school located at Sukedhara. The study was done in schools with the help of teachers. The questionnaires developed was given to the teachers so that they can distribute it to the parents of the children to be filled out.

Summary of Findings

This research provides useful knowledge on different socialization factors children get influenced by and the different strategies that kids potentially use from such a small age. The correlation of different product categories and strategies derived significant conclusions regarding family buying behavior. The ranking and one sample T test also revealed few important insights on different factors identified. The relationship between different demographic variables and the factors and strategies however did not appear at significant levels except for factors like Television and Internet which had significant relationship with occupation and working profile of family. This could be because the sample size was not enough.

The most influencing factor in children in affecting the family buying behavior was Television with the highest mean 3.45 at a significant level. The different other factors like Internet and Parents were also influencing at a significant level. Even in ranking, Television was ranked the highest among all the factors. Similarly, friends, internet, parents and shopping ranked respectively after. The most used strategy by children in affecting the family buying behavior was rational strategy with the highest mean 3.16. However, none of these strategies were at significant level with p values more than 0.005. This indicated that although children use different strategies to persuade parents none of it is at significant level.

Among the different product categories, it was seen that parents mostly get influenced by children in child related products with a mean of 3.26 at a significant level and they also let their children choose brand and colors with a mean of 3.28 at a significant level. However, in products like durable and non durable, parents had lesser affinity to let children make a choice or say than colors/brand and child related products. All of these results were at significant levels except on deciding place to shop.

While correlating the strategies and different product category, the results at significant level were:

  • Child related product- negative correlation with aggressive strategy
  • Child related product- positive correlation with knowledge strategy
  • Choosing brand/colors – negative correlation with aggressive strategy

While correlating the factor and different product category, the results at significant level were:

  • Durable products- positive correlation with parents as a factor

Conclusion

Since this is the age of Internet, the most influential factor that I as a researcher assumed was Internet before the survey. If not, I guessed it would be friends. But the result showed that the most influencing factor was Television. When it comes to children, we automatically tend to think that they are more likely to use emotional strategy and parents are also most likely to fall for that strategy. But, the research shows that the new age children are more likely to rationalize.

Children are the most adorable character of the family. In our culture, when coming to family decisions like choosing colors, it is given to the most special and emotionally oriented figure like moms or children. The result verifies this logic. The result also showed that children use aggressive strategy too. This projects that children can be stubborn for things they want. For categories especially accounted to them like child related products and colors, children do use aggressive strategy. But the effective is opposite on parents. Parents are seen to be more liable towards knowledge strategy.

For durable products like computers and electronics parents like to seek suggestion from children since kids today are smarter in technology from a very early age.

Recommendation

The recommendation of this research at first is to conduct a large scale study to identify the impact of different parameters in depth. However, this research filled in few voids of research regarding children influence in family buying behavior in Nepal. The three quick implications are:

  • Although social media has picked up and in many ways replaced the mainstream media advertising, this research identifies that the (6-12) age group of children still spend significant time watching television. So, advertisers who want to target this segment of children as their target market cannot neglect this media.

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  • Furthermore, the results support that marketers should identify children as one of the important target market in the durable product segment (like technology).

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For e.g.: Tablets sellers could leverage on advertisement concepts appealing to children and many more.

  • Since a significant growth is seen in the children influence over family buying behavior and expected to only increase, it also makes sense for shopping marts to make shopping space child friendly. This might be common in Western parts of the world. But it is not common in Nepal. Shopping marts could make shopping carts with child compartment if not place children related products at lower heights.

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E.g. In the recent days we can see that Bhatbhateni (a leading shopping market in Nepal) has introduced shopping carts with child compartments, however the low spacing between the shopping rows does not make it shopping friendly. Shopping marts should be constructed in a way that is very family friendly.

Image Credit: https://www.pexels.com/

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