The kids are more than alright these days when it comes to discretionary income, according to Harris Interactive’s annual YouthPulse study that was released in September. U.S. kids and tweens are on track to spend US$19.1 billion in 2003 (about US$946 per capita), and that figure is up 10% from last year’s US$17.5 billion.
Surveying 1,295 eight- to 12-year-olds on-line, the YouthPulse researchers found that kids overwhelmingly spend more on discretionary items than their adult counterparts, though not as much as teens and young adults. Whether it’s video games, toys or movies, entertainment is the top overall tween spending priority, but there’s a clear gender divide.
Girls spend their own money on toys and games, but when it comes to giving mom’s plastic a workout, they opt for clothes, says Harris’s VP of youth research John Geraci.
Boys unequivocally spend the bulk of their own money on video games – and it seems they have more to spend. The study found that boys are earning 56% of the total group’s income, and this trend continues right through the Gen Y years, with males besting female incomes even when they start their first jobs.
Kids are relying less on allowances these days, with most just flat-out asking mom and dad for money when they need it, Geraci says. Carving up a total US$15.5-billion income, the begging method helped kids cull US$5.2 billion, doing chores earned them US$4.3 billion, monetary gifts from friends and family added up to US$2 billion, and allowances accounted for US$4 billion. Not surprisingly, eight- to 12-year-olds spend whatever they earn, and this is the only group that doesn’t put anything away for a rainy day; in fact, the demo actually spends more than it earns.