Young teens ages 13 to 15 have emerged as a distinct and influential audience that drives more than US$61 billion in annual spending worldwide, according to new research from Epic Games-owned SuperAwesome. To reach this significant demo, brands need to take on a new approach by blending respect for their digital privacy with an ethical stance on issues, SuperAwesome has found.
Old enough to form their own opinions but still young enough to rely on their parents for cash, early teens stand out from their more mature peers in a few key ways. Unlike older teens (16 to 19) who are beginning to focus more on their own financial decisions, young teens have a high degree of influence on how families spend money. They’re also more likely than older teens to list gaming as a hobby, and there are more self-identifying girl gamers in this age bracket than any other.
This age cohort also has more free time on their hands, and they spend that time gaming and consuming social and video content. Young teens are also more platform-agnostic and looking for new social channels to explore compared to their older cohorts (who are loyal to TikTok and Snapchat).
Through its research, SuperAwesome has found that young teens are a central decision-making power in families. They have more influence than 16 to 18s when families are deciding what to purchase, which equals around US$143 billion in influenced spend.
By category, they have a 90% influence on what fast food and groceries a household buys (compared to 80% for 16 to 18s), 78% influence on video game purchasing (65% for older kids) and 88% on movie spending (78% for older teens).
Beyond spending power, brand loyalties are forged in these young teen years. The brands young teens connect with also have special significance for them, and they will remain loyal to these brands because they become part of their identity. Young teens are more loyal to many popular brands than older demos, including Hot Topic (210% more loyal), Old Navy (80% more loyal), Pepsi (71% more loyal) and PlayStation (65% more loyal).
To reach this group, SuperAwesome suggests brands adopt an aspirational approach by giving them the autonomy to make their own purchasing decisions, like Amazon Teen, which lets 13 to 17s browse and add items to their cart with a pre-approved spending limit. Companies should also take a strong ethical stance on issues, like Nike supporting NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in ads, because kids are conscious of what wearing certain brands says about them, SuperAwesome adds.
SuperAwesome drew its conclusions from in-depth interviews with marketing professionals conducted in Q3 2020. It also analyzed quantitative data from the Insights People on 13- to 18-year-olds in the UK market, as well as additional third-party research.
Photo courtesy of Emmanuel Olguin on Unsplash