You’ve undoubtedly heard of “tweens,” people who are too young to be called teenagers, but too sophisticated to be interested in “kid” things. Once an overlooked segment of the market, tweens – people around 8 ot 12 years old – are now one of the most coveted demographics and are subject to aggressive marketing strategies. Tweens possess a great deal of buying power, and companies would be wise to consider tweens as they evaluate their marketing strategy.
The Tween Revolution
While the existence of a tween demographic may raise some eyebrows, the real mystery is what took so long for this segment of the market to emerge. A generation ago, tweens had to have the hottest video game systems and virtual pets to be considered cool. Tweens today desire things that are solely their own, a notion marketers quickly picked up on. As a result, companies have plenty of tween-only offerings.
Tweens and Parents
Of course, while tweens want their own gadgets and clothes, parents decide how much of this merchandise to buy. In many tween households, both parents work, which means two things – families have more money to spend than ever before, and parents feel more pressure to make up for lost time by buying their kids whatever they want. This paradigm shift has given more buying power to tweens.
Malls have multiple stores geared specifically toward outfitting teenage and young adult girls with the latest fashions, and the tween market is no different. Tweens are just like their teenage counterparts in that they want to express themselves through clothing and accessories. The tween age is all about getting extra independence; tweens don’t want to shop where their parents shop, nor do they want to shop at stores aimed toward their older or younger siblings.
An Economic Boost?
In today’s economic climate, virtually everyone is concerned about their budget. Nobody wants to spend any more than they absolutely have to. Except for tweens, that is. Tweens may be the only group that’s increasing its spending as time goes on, giving the economy a welcome boost. This economic impact isn’t just because of the parents’ money; tweens save money given to them from relatives and friends, then use that money to make their own purchases.
The tween revolution is seen by some as turning children into adults too quickly, but many parents see value in letting their children develop an ability to make thoughtful decisions about purchases. Tweens have developed tremendous buying power because they’ve earned it, and because their parents have wisely listened to their children and allowed them to buy the things they want to buy. The result is an exciting time for tweens and marketers alike, and for parents who aren’t scared of seeing their children grow up. And children who grow up understanding the value of their money may have a leg-up when it comes to making economic decisions as adults.