The speed of change today is unlike anything we’ve seen before. Technology is getting smarter, and we now have more access to digital devices and social media that increase our awareness of global issues. It also means that children are more connected than ever from a younger age, making next-generation a key consideration for brands and businesses looking to secure their place in the future.
Digitally empowered children are learning and expecting to access what they want, when they want. In the 22 countries The Insights Family now surveys, 52% of 3-5 year olds have access to a tablet. 50% of tweens (10-12 years old) watch videos on YouTube, while 31% use TikTok. The more kids are exposed to technology and social media, the more concerned they are about global issues. Since the beginning of 2021, concerns about animal cruelty (+79%), gender equality (+38%), racism (+18%) and human rights issues (+42%) have increased worldwide.
All over the world, children’s voices are becoming stronger and more relevant. Parents and brands are increasingly listening to their opinions. In the UK, there has been an increase in the number of parents of children aged 1-16 who say their children influence their purchasing decisions across a wide range of products. 35% of parents say their children influence the tech they use, while 33% say their children influence the clothes they wear. With children having a greater impact on the family budget, it is important for brands to understand young consumers and engage with their values and interests.
A growing concern among children is climate change. It occupies their conversations, their career aspirations and their attitude towards the future. The environment is a growing topic of conversation among children aged 10-18 in the UK, with a quarter of this demographic citing climate change as a top concern, an increase of +11% over the last 12 months.
This is also the case with younger children. 52% of children aged 6 to 9 in the UK say they think about the impact of their actions on the environment. Children in this demographic are 23% more likely than the average child to say they influence family outings. This suggests that children who are passionate about social issues are more vocal within the family dynamic. Building eco-friendly business strategies is therefore likely to resonate with children and parents alike. By acknowledging sustainability and acting accordingly, brands are likely to see increasing brand messaging while saving the planet.
Is the value-action gap narrowing?
Although consumer attitudes towards the environment have changed, are behaviors and consumption patterns changing to reflect these concerns? Or is there still a “value action gap” where consumers are increasingly saying they want brands that embrace purpose and sustainability?
Insights Family’s real-time data portal reveals a “value-action gap” between children’s attitudes and behaviors related to sustainability. An example is grocery shopping in 2021: 14% of children worldwide have considered the environment when choosing food and drink – less than the 22% who say they are concerned about the environment in general. This shows an 8% value-action gap, suggesting that concerns are not translated directly into action. So far, however, the value-action gap has narrowed to 5% in 2022. This suggests that children are more likely to make purchases in line with their values.
Of particular interest to us was the news surrounding Love Island’s partnership with eBay for the latest series. The TV show is known for setting fashion trends, particularly among younger viewers who are turning to fast fashion brands to shop for outfits they’ve seen on their screens. Following its recent partnership with eBay, ITV has announced that contestants on the reality TV show will now wear second-hand clothing to encourage clothing reuse and encourage sustainable buying. The company has said it hopes to combat a throwaway attitude towards fashion that some previous candidates have been criticized for promoting.
The Insights Family’s real-time data portal suggests this will be a particularly powerful move for the show. Love Island is currently the #21 most popular TV show for children aged 9-18 in the UK (2.9%). These fans are +11% more likely than average to agree that it is important that the products they buy are eco-friendly, and they are +9% more likely to shop online than the average child. eBay is currently the second most popular online shop for children aged three to 18 in the UK. eBay fans in this age group are 56% more likely to like Love Island, showing audience crossover. This suggests the partnership could encourage more viewers to shop for used items on resale sites and follow the sustainable living trend.