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The Pester Power of children in decline and its effect on licenses

By Helena Figuerola, director of the platform Kids Knowledge


Currently we can not understand the consumer behavior of children without addressing the psycho-economics of the family in which they live. On the one hand, we have to take into account the economic status of the family, which may be subject to severe circumstances of failure or limited income and, secondly, the type of psycho-affective relationship with their parents.

According to the study PAC'12 on the crisis, "children are aware of the economic situation of their family and are consistent, they ask for less, understand that they cannot have what they want straight away and negotiated agreements such as "if I help at home I can ask for that doll". In short, they are less capricious and more rational.

These factors are changing the role of children in purchasing decisions, although they remain an important demographic group, their purchasing power has declined. There are fewer children with pay and, if they have it, it has been reduced. The Pester Power, the power exercised by children constantly asking for things, that had its maximum explosion in 2000, is now "deflated".

Today, manufacturers and advertisers can no longer rely on the insistence of the child so that mom or dad buys them products. In parallel, values ​​begin to be important in the buying decision of parents.

The licenses of children's products have lived cyclically very successful stages where all the kids wanted and asked for fashion toys insistently. We all remember the early days of Dragon Ball, the Spongebob, Pokemon or the Monster High effect. Synergies between child target and fashion, the effect "buzz marketing", is much weaker today. We don't have right now a fashion license that encourages the desire of children, that enhances the collective identity and is okey for various ages.

Currently, there are many licenses, we are living in a time of much saturation. With the crisis, manufacturers committed to the classics and there are few novelties. Violetta, Spiderman, Doraemon, Transformers, Star Wars are still on. There is no novelty that has achieved a global effect. Peppa Pig, Doctor Toys, Princess Sophia are perhaps the most recent, but they are part of a target of less than eight years and they are not aspirational.

1. Licences, crisis and purchase synergy
The absence of a license, let's call it "push", adds to a pressure structure on the demand / assignment "not push", making the purchasing decision become more dependent on adults (father/mother). In this sense, the bet for classical licenses is justified.

2. Is there a formula and a successful strategy for licensing?
The easy answer is to define the design+content mix addressing the key evolutionary stages that we intend to reach. It is easier saying it than doing it, because the design emerges, first, from perceptions of the target's age and, secondly, from each culture's design parameters.

In preschool, simple designs are more permeable to communicate with the child and establish a relationship. We can think of the sensory-cognitive level is an important variable, although we know that at higher ages the same simple designs also work successfully. Remember the confusions we had twenty years ago with the first Manga designs.

3. It should be keep in mind that the third key is technology

Children have a dual experience of the world of licensing, the real and the virtual. Since they are very small, they are used to interaction, fact that has modified playing with the imagination and freely and spontaneously projecting. The possibility to have that character, that series in a virtual game or an app has changed the meaning of fun for children.

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