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Jul 14, 2021
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Global teens demand brands are ethical, love entertaining social media posts

Published
Jul 14, 2021

A new study has shown what motivates kids and teens today and also highlights how younger Gen Z and Gen Alpha are developing into a huge group of committed digital shoppers with a strong belief that brands should be ethical.


Photo: Pixabay/Public domain



Released Wednesday, the research from target audience specialist GWI (via its GWI Kids dataset) looked at the behaviours and beliefs of more than 15,000 kids globally aged between eight and 15. 

If we focus on the 12-15 age group that's on the cusp of becoming fully-fledged consumers, The Kids These Days report shows teens are already making digital purchases. Some 15% of this group have shopped online in the last week, rising to a quarter among those with a bank account they can access.

And a third of teens turn to social media to engage with their favourite brands. Their content preferences include funny posts and memes. But kids “expect this content to be balanced with posts that reiterate a retail brand’s CSR [corporate social responsibility] and commitment to addressing wider societal issues, which are valued highly by this generation”.

There’s some more important information for brands seeking to reach this consumer segment. For instance, girls aged 12-15 are "much more likely than boys the same age to say they can do any job they want to (57% vs 31%) and value voicing their opinions" more highly than their male counterparts (47% vs 42%). Equal opportunities really matter to them “and so brands need to do their part to reflect this and ensure girls and women are equally represented in campaigns, media, and messaging”.

Additionally, “sustainability is top of mind for teens”. Pro-environmental attitudes and behaviours are key with 44% of 12-15 year-olds saying that caring for the planet matters to them. This is higher than priorities typically associated with this age group, like caring about peers’ opinions (28%) or being up-to-date on the latest fashion trends (23%). Again, there’s a knock-on effect for brands as these young consumers expect environmentally-friendly practices and a focus on CSR policies from them. “Living and breathing these values should be every retail brand’s top priority,” the report said.

It’s interesting too that brands may be able to reach other age groups by targeting TV shows that teens watch, because a third of kids aged 12-15 say they decide the shows and films that their families watch.

And that’s the case in a wide variety of countries. The company’s online research spoke to 15,418 internet users in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the US. 

The company said the study was fully opt-in and had full parental consent and the questions were also adapted to get the most accurate answers from age groups that might respond differently than adults.

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