Toddlers Are Becoming New E-Commerce Consumers: How To Cash In

Image by: Alec Couros
By Michael Sterling

A recent survey from PBS Kids shows that the majority of parents plan on buying their children tech-related purchases this holiday season. Though it might not come as a surprise, you might be shocked to find that most of their kids are under the age of 10. There’s no doubt that toddlers are slowly becoming your new consumer, it’s just a matter of how to get them before someone else does. 

It seems like they’re so many inventions being made every year it’s hard to keep up. When it comes to marketing, it’s especially hard to wrap your head around the idea of marketing to kids when your company isn’t exactly “kid friendly.” Well the secret it: it doesn’t have to be. All it takes is one pebble to start a ripple, and as a business owner, you better make damn sure it’s you who throws it.

Grab The Kids & The Parents Will Follow

Kids are an in important demographic to all marketers, especially since tech gadgets have made it easier to reach them. Their purchasing power is massive because not only are they the adult consumers of the future, but they also influence their parents’ buying decisions in the present.

To make it clear about just how much of an influence kids have, take a look at some numbers from a 2008 YTV Kids and Tweens Report based on how much of an “influence” kids have on a family’s day to day activities:

  • Breakfast/Lunch Choices – 97% and 95% of the time.
  • Where To Ho For Casual Family Meals – 98% of time.
  • Clothing Purchases – 95% are given a choice.
  • Software/Computer Purchases – 76% and 60% of the time.
  • Family entertainment choices – 98% of the time.
  • Family Trips & Excursions – 94% of the time.

It’s not a surprise that U.S. companies alone spend nearly $20 billion in advertising to kids every year. In the 21st century especially, families have gotten smaller, competitive incomes between mother and father are increasing, and many couples are having kids later in life.

Together, these are huge factors in why parents are willing to buy more for their kids. I say it’s time to invest in a new marketing strategy.

Build An Image For Kids To Remember

According to the Center for a New American Dream, babies as young as six months of age can form mental images of corporate logos and mascots. With this research, it’s safe to say that brand loyalties can be established as early as age two. By the time kids start school, many of them can recognize hundreds of brand logos. This, of course, creates a lifetime relationship.

The marketing tactic of building an image for kids, believe it or not, is fairly new. This particular trend started in the mid-1980s with companies such as Nike, Calvin Klein, and Tommy Hilfiger. By changing their primary focus from production to creating an image, they planted the seed early on and eventually created multi-national corporations.

But it’s not just sports and fashion brands who have seen success. Fast food restaurants have been doing it for years, in fact, they’ve recently been under fire by the World Health Organization for tricking kids into thinking their food is healthy. Magazines such as Time, People, and Vogue have launched kid and teen editions which also boast ads for adult-related products as well.

The sooner you enter the lives of your consumers, the better. More often than not, customers will choose the company they’re most comfortable with, and usually it’s the one they mostly recognize.

The “Cool” Kids Will Build Your “Buzz”

Believe it or not, the high school mentality of cool kids vs. freaks and geeks is entering children’s lives much earlier than before. Even kids in Elementary have created a “cool” section in the cafeteria. From a marketer’s perspective, this is exactly where you need to sit.

A major challenge for advertisers is to cut through the intense clutter in kids’ lives. To do this, companies are using “buzz marketing.” By finding the coolest kids in a community and having them wear or use your product, it will organically create buzz around it. To a young person, street cred is everything. The internet will always be your best friend when it comes to buzz marketing.

Kids use social media to spread the world about music, clothing, and other products. According to, this worked especially well for Burger King when it re-launched its “Subservient Chicken” TV commercial online, attracting 15 million hits within the first five days and more than 450 million hits later on.