Kids and families today are finding increased value in live experiences over material goods, a new Viacom Nickelodeon Consumer Insights report reveals. Every Age, Every Aisle, Everywhere: Understanding Consumers Today connected with people ages six to 54 from more than 31 countries.
The key finding from the report was that when it comes to happiness, across all ages, it’s about time—not about having plenty of money. On Viacom’s rank of the top five sources of happiness, “spending time with family and friends” took the top slot, while “time for fun and relaxation” and “going away on holiday” were both growing. Ending the list were “being successful” and “having plenty of money.” This is a marked difference from 2012′s findings, which saw success and money ranking higher in the list.
The study found that there’s value in providing people the opportunity to participate in experiences, especially with friends and family. Facilitating shared experiences helped keep everyone in the household happy. Exclusive experiences were deemed the “ultimate status symbol,” making it a big deal for people to be the first to discover something. Kids are having an increasing sway over these decisions as well: 70% of children have a role in deciding where the family will go on vacation, while nearly eight in 10 kids have a say when it comes to deciding how to spend their free time. (And, echoing recent trends in the food aisle, 77% of kids have a say when it comes to mealtimes.) Nine in 10 parents, meanwhile, believe they should always listen their kids’ opinions before making decisions that affect them.
This data backs an ongoing trend toward live experiences in the kids industry. According to Expedia, 74% of Americans prioritize experiences over products these days, and 65% of brands say that live events and experiential programs are directly related to sales. Tru Kids Brands, parent company of Toys “R” Us, is partnering with candy-themed experiential adventure company Candytopia on a new immersive pop-up that was made for Instagram, while toycos like Hasbro and Mattel continue to launch their own location-based efforts.
Viacom’s data also revealed that “emotional resonance and release”—getting people to feel happy, sad, angry or sympathetic—helps people cope and allows families to bond.
Representing the diversity of today’s families and reflecting their realities was also found to be incredibly important. Inclusion and realness is increasingly valued by all age groups, with the report quoting a 30-year-old respondent saying “characters that look, think, dress, talk [or] walk like you, any of those little things can go a long way.”