Kids Today are Wired, Represent New Opportunity for Marketers

Today’s kids are practically born wired. Their lives have been saturated with media and content, accessible 24/​7, right at the tips of their fingers.  Children today are more wired than any other generation, using computers before they can read or ride a bike.  The internet accompanies kids wherever they go as the mobile universe continues to grow, including MP3 players, handheld video games, tablets, readers, laptops and more devices on the horizon.  According to new research from eMarketer, the number of internet users in the U.S. ages 11 and under will climb from 20.2 million in 2011 to 25.7 million by 2015. 

Kids represent a new generation of consumers who are more connected and reachable,” said Jared Jenks, eMarketer analyst and author of the new report “Demographic Profile—Children.” “But they grow more distracted—and hence unreachable—with every new connection. Breaking through the noise will mean speaking to them on their media and their terms.”

And their media are decidedly digital. eMarketer estimates 40% of US children under 12 will go online at least monthly this year. Nearly half will do so by 2015.

Kids are also spending more time online. According to Harris Interactive, 82% of internet users ages 10 to 12 spent at least an hour online the day before they were polled in 2010. That was up from 75% the year before. Among younger children ages 8 and 9 the increase was even greater, from 61% to 76%.

One big online activity for kids is watching video. eMarketer estimates that nearly 12 million children under 12 will be online video viewers in 2011. By 2015, 70% of online kids will download or stream video from the web at least monthly.

Games are another favorite activity, whether on a console, computer, handheld device or phone. Of the children surveyed by Ipsos OTX Media CT who went online and watched TV at the same time, two-​thirds cited playing a game as the reason for multitasking.

Kids’ lives are overflowing with media,” said Jenks. “And kids are receptive to marketing messages—but convincing them to buy is only half the battle. Marketers must walk a fine line between appealing to kids and gaining the approval of parents.”

[Source:  Jenks, Jared.  "Demographic Profile — Children."  eMarketer.  9 Feb. 2011.  Web.  11 Feb. 2011.]