Market Focus: Tweens
What Makes Them Tick?
The beauty of this age group, says Harmeling, is that while they are already starting to think about college, they still have the freedom to be little kids.
The products and services that will appeal to this market are those that help tweens define themselves. The Youth MONITOR study, Harmeling points out, shows a big jump in brand preference between 6-year-olds and 7-year-olds, underscoring that tweens will only continue to become more brand-conscious.
Donohue notes that while books and music appeal to most tweens, girls skew toward apparel, beauty products and magazines, and boys are more interested in electronics and games.
Apparel is always a draw for girls, but boys are showing more interest in clothing these days, says Harmeling.
Another important characteristic to know about tweens is their comfort with technology. Today, this market has access to much of the technology that teens and adults use, such as e-mail, the Internet and cell phones.
“This group is definitely savvy about the Internet,” says Donohue. Tweens use the Web to research products and services that interest them … and their families.
In fact, 62 percent of tweens are online, says Harmeling, and according to the 2003 Youth MONITOR, of these, 29 percent say their parents have asked them to research products and services online.
The familiarity of this market with the online environment and parents’ tendencies to draw all family members into household purchasing decisions parlays into tweens having input on everything from which restaurants to frequent and what movies to see, to what cars to buy, and even what clothing styles parents should wear.
Marketing to Tweens
As for media preferences, tweens have not yet begun to change their viewing habits, explains Harmeling. “They’re still primarily watching the same kids’ channels and reading true children’s magazines,” such as SI for Kids and Nickelodeon, she says.