A recent development in marketing has been to define a new customer segment: “tweens” or preteens. While young people ages 9 to 14 are no longer children, theyare not yet teens, either. With surprising purchasing power and influence on a variety of family decisions, they are an attractive market.
What is a tween?
“Tween” is a marketing term used todescribe preteens ages 9 to 14. Straddling childhood and adolescence, they have a foot in both worlds. When it comes to technology, they rule: they are online longer, adopt and master new technologiesfaster than adults and participate in a wider variety of online activities. In Canada, 85% of tweens have access to a computer, 82% to a video game system, 25% to an iPod or MP3 player and 16% have acell phone (this number rises to 26% among 12 to 14 year-olds).
While their favourite medium is still television (50%), 27% of American 9 to 14 year-olds watch it on the internet.
Purchasing powerand influence on family decisions
Spending by tweens has doubled every decade for the past 30 years. In the US today, between spending their own money and influencing their parents’ purchasingdecisions, this segment controls or influences approximately US$260 billion in spending. According to the BRANDchild study (conducted by Millward Brown among 2,000 young people ages 9 to 14 years in severalcountries), tweens influence 80% of their parents’ brand purchases.
For exemple, in 2009, there were approximately 2.5 million tweens in Canada and their average annual income was CAN$1,155. Thismeans they controlled CAN$2.9 billion of their own money in addition to influencing another CAN$20 billion in family purchases.
It is this financial power that differentiates tweens from earliergenerations; never has this age group exercised such influence. The generation is populous enough to ruin a brand it does not like or catapult another to success by adopting it