There is a lot of conversation within this industry as to when new media and sales initiatives should be actioned? Considering that the emerging needs might only be surrounding the very unusual lockdown situation we are in, which is completely understandable.

However, the answer is …NOW! There has never been a greater need to know how and when to connect with the kid’s audience, and what sales channels are optimum to drive reach and engagement.

We know kids viewing has shifted during lockdown, moving away from the traditional peaks, fitting in with new needs of the parents. This isn’t the only change. Purchasing within the kids’ space has also shifted, with both purchasing and viewing shifts being driven by emerging lockdown needs.

Considered spend

Families have been hit differently by COVID-19, some are feeling the financial strain and others enjoying more family time without the fear of what the future economy might hold.

For those negatively affected, purchase considerations for things such as Christmas and those big-ticket items have moved forward and there is a greater proportion of those parents thinking about those future spends now. For these families, brands will have to work harder to provide the confidence around brand trust and product value – what can your brand offer over the alternatives and what benefits does it bring?

For those who are less negatively affected, there has been a greater need for immediate entertainment, with a large proportion of parents buying toys and games specifically for the lockdown period. This means there are families spending more money on gifts than average, utilising the money saved from things such as holidays. There has also been a shift in playing behaviours, with families choosing games which they can play together and interact with as a family, with the intention of continuing to buy and play games for the future in this way.

Therefore, for these audiences, the challenge is increasing the brand awareness right now, to build that relationship with these families to secure that future purchasing utilising line extensions.

Inspiration for purchase

Despite the differences in spend, shopping behavioural shifts have been universal.

Inspiration has shifted to the online platforms, with YouTube overtaking brick and mortar stores as the key place to get ideas for gifts for both parents and children. Purchasing has also shifted to online, with Amazon securing 50% of all purchasing occurring over the lockdown period.

Importantly, parents don’t believe shopping behaviours will return to normal post lockdown, with online increasing in the role it plays. This shift to online purchase and inspiration has important future implications for brands.

Online shopping is a different arena when compared to physical stores, with shelf standout relying more on brand opinion and product key features and how those are communicated online. Often parents decide on products by looking through product reviews and product recommendations and then going onto retail platforms and searching direct, therefore brands can’t rely as much as packaging gimmicks which don’t translate in this online space and need to develop more of a brand relationship directly with parents. Packaging needs to be simplified, with those key features more easily seen through thumb sized details.

Messaging/advertising through online platforms such as YouTube also needs to be tailored and cannot be treated in the same way as linear/traditional means. Online advertising needs to be savvier in how it delivers the message, being more content led and fitting in with the surrounding content it is being watched with. The diversity of content which is accessed is very diverse making this challenging, but this is the challenge that stands in the way of a good online strategy and a great one.

Keeping your finger on the pulse of the kids’ market

Utilising insights from our in-house syndicated tracking study Little Voices, where we speak to 550 kids aged 2-12 and parents every other month. We have the ability to track questions around key topics that influence their world, ranging from media viewing, pocket money, favourite brands and, importantly, spend.

It is our flagship studies that provide us with the insight that enable us to stay ahead of these changing times, if you would like to find out more about how to be involved then please get in touch.

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