Play dough: New Generations report shows Kiwi kids’ annual spending power and media viewing habits

I was once gifted a cell phone by my Dad when I was about eight or nine around the year 2000. The phone was nothing special, it was what people would call a “brick” by today’s standards (though in saying that phones are now bigger than they ever were). It was given to me because my Dad was paranoid about my safety and wanted to stay in contact with me. I hardly ever used the phone. The games on it were crap, it was in an ugly case and its functionality was limited (though my friends thought it was pretty cool). Now every eight-year-old their dog seems to own some sophisticated piece of tech. Whether it be a smartphone or a tablet of some variety. And according to a New Generations survey Kiwi kids have an annual spending power of $257 million and are more tech-savvy than ever.

The Cartoon Network New Generations report (run by Turner Broadcasting) analyses the media habits and spending power of New Zealand’s youngest consumers and found kids are increasingly taking control when it comes to how they access the internet, a release says. Among kids with smart devices in the home, 95 percent are using them to regularly access apps.

The report, which evaluated more than 500 responses from child and parent pairs, found the annual spending power of kids has topped $257 million. Kids from subscription television homes are even more affluent with an annual income of $515 compared to $353 for those in free-to-air only homes and average annual pocket money for kids aged four to 14 reaches about $255.80 (NZD), the release says.

A release detailing its findings says watching and posting video is the most popular online leisure activity for kids with average daily viewing times of 28 minutes, followed by playing online games.

Kids are also influencing their parents purchasing decisions across a range of categories including most notably food, toiletries, clothes, toys and books. Meanwhile seven in 10 parents say their child influences decisions on what type of family holiday to take.

Parents also say they are open to their children receiving advertising messages with almost seven in 10 saying it is a useful way to introduce new products relevant for their child, the release says.

“New Zealand’s youngest consumers are avid users of television and digital media. With $257 million in spending power and significant purchasing influence over parents they can’t afford to be ignored,” says Turner International Asia Pacific director of research and planning David Webb.

Apps continue to dominate tablet use, with 41 percent of kids accessing them at least once a day and 73 percent using them a minimum of once a week.

“As tablet and mobile devices continue to proliferate homes, the way kids access entertainment and games continues to evolve,” Webb says. “We’ve seen an increase in the amount of time spent watching online videos because of this and there’s no indication that this trend will change.”

While digital media consumption is strong, television remains the dominant entertainment and information source for kids, with 93 percent regularly watching the larger screen, the release says. It is also the preferred way for kids to learn about things that interest them in including toys, games, movies and technology.

Kids are continuing to watch TV alongside their parents with seven in 10 parents regularly viewing movies, cartoons and light entertainment programmes with their children in the past week, the release says.

“Television is the number one media for kids. Outside of their friendship group it is the most important media when it comes to how they find out about new things that appeal to them. This, coupled with the fact that the majority of kids spend time co-viewing with the household purchasing decision maker every week, means TV is still the most effective advertising medium for reaching this important audience,” says Webb.

StopPress has contacted Turner International for more information and is awaiting a response.

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