Trillion-dollar kids; Parents Have Ceded Control

Marketing to children is no longer about hawking toys, sweets and cereal in between the cartoons. Children are now influencing purchasing decisions for grown-up items such as cars and holidays, and firms are responding accordingly (Economist article). 

Children are making decisions about most household products,” says James McNeal, a consultant who has been writing about marketing to children for two decades. 

McNeal estimates that children under 14 influenced as much as 47% of American household spending in 2005. That amounts to over $700 billion annually - including $40 billion of children's own spending power, $340 billion in direct influence (“I want a Dell”), and $340 billion in indirect influence (“I know little Timmy would prefer us to buy the BMW”).

Children now determine everything from where their families go on holiday to how their homes are furnished. Apparantly some $15 billion is spent in marketing to kids - no wonder Nickelodeon is Viacom's most profitable division. 

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