Children are proving to be a consumer group that cannot be ignored in SA households as their influence continues to rise, stretching beyond the purchase of just toys and sweets. Today’s children are important decisionmakers in the purchase of low- and high-ticket items in SA households.

A ViacomCBS Networks Africa insights study dubbed “Kidfluence Global 2021 — The SA Edition” has uncovered the growing influence of children in SA household purchase decisions. After connecting with more than 500 children aged between six and 12 and parents online, ViacomCBS highlights the rising influence of children across a range of consumer categories, from everyday to more expensive items. The result is children have emerged as a significant consumer group that shows no sign of slowing down.

Beyond pester power, more than half of six to 12 year olds surveyed in SA are using their powers of persuasion and are using all the tools at their disposal to pitch their requests to their parents when it comes to household purchase decisions. It’s no longer only the responsibility of the parents to keep family households running smoothly; children are helping around the household and doing tasks. And they want to be included in small and big purchase decisions.

This emerging consumer group also researches brands to determine the best fit for the household. Using technology and mobile devices, ViacomCBS found SA children look to various sources for guidance before spending money. At least 48% of children in SA look at online sources, such as YouTube, for information on brands, citing the internet’s important role when it comes to children and their choices. This is aided by children having access to many devices.

Kidfluence Global 2021 — The SA Edition. Picture: SUPPLIED/VIACOMCBS

Kidfluence Global 2021 — The SA Edition. Picture: SUPPLIED/VIACOMCBS

Our research highlights that the percentage of children that own or use most of these devices increases with age. By age 12, all SA children (that form part of the online population) have access to a smartphone, and research products and brands accordingly to make informed decisions.

Interestingly, 89% of children in SA look to their parents for approval or opinion on brands. Parents in SA remain the trusted figures and the best source of guidance for children. This collaborative approach to household purchases is the keystone of modern-day families.

ViacomCBS also researched the levels of influence children have across 26 broad categories ranging from vacations and day trips to food and grocery shopping, electronics, restaurants, telecommunications and entertainment. SA children have an overwhelming influence on the decision-making process in all 26 categories. However, their biggest influence is on the household’s choice of entertainment (99%), followed by food and grocery shopping (97%), then choice of restaurants, at 93%.