Over the last year we have worked across many different categories, from airline catering to cosmetics and children’s products, and in doing so have gained insights into the changing markets of a wide range of sectors.
As we feel no industry exists in singularity but always in the context of others, we compared the industry crossovers, looking specifically for emerging trends relevant to the kids industry. Combining insights from larger market shifts with individual consumer behaviours highlighted a multitude of trends, of which we would like to share four of the more prominent ones.
1 – LITTLE HACKERS.
Generation Z don’t want off-the-shelf consumption, they want to create and customise their possessions. As they get older they are taking more control of the process, going on to define their own culture.
Children are being introduced to the tools and systems of their generation at a very young age. Encouraged and supported by parents and inspired by the potential of kits on the market which provide support structures, kids with discerning minds go on to build and make personalised objects. They learn by building and destroying.
The internet is giving these young entrepreneurs a platform to share their thoughts and sell their products.
“We’re a youth culture magazine written by youths, not guys in their thirties” – Elise By Olsen, 15 years old Oslo-based founder and editor of Recens Paper
2 – GLOBAL SOPHISTICATES.
Thanks to the ever-present internet, social media, migrating work forces and the rise in city living, children are exposed to a plethora of cultural backgrounds. They are increasingly moving and interacting across national and cultural boarders having a visible impact on attitudes and tastes.
City children commonly adopt multicultural celebrations – Holi, Day of the dead, Halloween, Chinese New Year and are into Global Popular Culture. Today kids are in the know more than ever and their tastes for fashion, food and services and becoming more and more sophisticated. Due to the impact of social media, traditional geo-dependent trend cycles are quickly disappearing.
“Today’s kids have sophisticated palates. A trend in the food industry is the disappearance of child specific menus. Instead kids are offered a smaller portion of the grown up’s dish. So kids can pick an adult taste in a smaller size” – Jennifer Pembroke Johnson, Global Consumer Insights Director at McDonalds
3 – GENERATIONAL ROLES.
There is a visible change in the dynamics and behaviours of different generations within families. Fewer children born in Europe, older first-time mums, and fathers and grandparents getting more involved in the everyday care of children has lead to changes in priorities when making purchasing decisions.
Unlike previously, where mum traditionally did most of the shopping for children, grandparents and fathers are now proactive decision makers, buyers and main users of kid’s products too.
While more money is being spent on fewer offspring, families are looking for a polarised range of products and services where ‘cheap’ still has appeal, but where children are also ‘treated’ to the emerging luxury products developed for the youngest generation.
“Parents always want quality products, but what’s interesting is that there is a luxury market emerging in the kids industry” – Prof. Peter Wippermann, at Folkwang University Essen
4 – NETWORKED FAMILIES.
Families are living busier lives and therefore are looking for offerings which will make their day-to-day lives easier and save time. Products and services that minimise planning and provide maximum quality family-time are increasingly popular.
Parents seek subscription services that offer ‘ready-to-play’ activities or simply allow them to eliminate chores such as shopping for nappies and other everyday items. Family members are reaching out to technology in order to structure their hectic lives. Apps and websites are not only used to keep the family schedules updated, but also to communicate and locate each other.
“Is my husband going to be home for dinner? Does that business meeting conflict with basketball practice? Game night, girl’s night, date night… keeping everyone’s schedules straight in my work and family life is a herculean effort. To manage everyone’s coming and going, I need something more than just a place to jot things down”- Busy London Mum
You may have noticed that these four trends are already beginning to impact the children industry, but they are just some of many, with more emerging every week. To not only stay abreast with, but to stand a chance bringing innovation to the market, companies in the children’s industry would be wise to do brand specific research, helping them understand not only what these trends mean for their particular business now and in the near future but also the behaviours and attitudes of their consumers who will, ultimately, decide the success or failure of the company.19th November 2015