Mon. May 20th, 2024

The average age of today’s online shopper is getting younger, according to a new Kid Commerce Report published by content moderation company WebPurify. 

Released earlier this week, the report breaks down findings from a survey of roughly 1,000 US parents conducted with research partner Censuswide. The respondents fell into three categories—287 with young kids (under eight), 231 with tweens (nine to 12) and 483 with teens (13 to 17).

Around 22% of the parents surveyed said their kids prefer online shopping to other entertainment activities, including watching TV. The study gauged that kids in the youngest age bracket are spending an average of 2.48 hours a week shopping online—slightly more than tweens (2.16 hours) and teens (2.27 hours). 

This stat surprised Alex Popken, one of the study’s authors and the VP of trust and safety at WebPurify. She notes that factors like early childhood access to cell phones and the habit of being “chronically online” have helped today’s kids develop heightened digital literacy and the ability to navigate the internet and access e-commerce platforms with ease.

As for the product categories that are attracting young shoppers, roughly half of the parents observed their kids buying clothes online, and 32% noted an interest in purchasing beauty products.

This seems to add credence to the recent “Sephora Kids” phenomenon, which is seeing a growing number of tweens shopping at Sephora beauty and personal care stores. Meanwhile, fashion is already trending on kids TV, with shows like Style It Out (CBBC) and Geek Girl (Netflix) released in 2024; and popular platforms such as Roblox are also stoking an interest in fashion among younger gamers.

Social media is a strong driver of Gen Alpha’s earlier-than-typical interest in certain products, with around 45% of parents reporting that their kids are easily swayed by online influencers. “The data also shows shopping can be a social status mechanism for Gen Alpha,” says Popken. They may be driven by their peers to join them on certain platforms where shopping is also taking place.”

Indeed, about a third (33%) of parents say their kids consider online shopping a fun activity to do with friends—perhaps a natural digital evolution of the mall as the go-to hangout for previous generations. “We saw this first with social media and are seeing that grow into gaming and other kid-friendly spaces previously reserved for playing or social interaction,” says Popken. “In many ways, this generation has been taught to love e-commerce, and that might be why we see through the data that they’re treating it as a social and entertainment activity rather than a transactional one.”

But some parents are concerned about these habits—around 16% of respondents reported that their kids are experiencing an addiction to online shopping, and 20% noted that an age-inappropriate item had been purchased online. However, there is at least one silver lining—roughly 34% of parents say their kids’ familiarity with online shopping has helped them develop good money-management skills at a young age.

Image courtesy of Ron Lach/Pexels

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By admin