It’s certainly hard to digest that you are officially a grown-up. Last Friday, the Iconkids & Youth congress in Munich –organized by the same named market research company– made it pretty clear to me, though. The company presented compiled data on the most successful kids’ licenses in Germany, France and the UK, together with other instructive facts on today’s young generation. Not surprisingly, only few of my childhood icons were mentioned.

Instead, the Minions –yellow animated characters out of a film released in 2015– are the favorite cartoons to have on products for most of the children aged 4-12 years in France (51%), UK (62%) and Germany (61%). Ice Age is the second favorite choice in France (48%) and Germany (53%), while occupying the third position in the UK (44%). Disney’s recent blockbusters Frozen and Madagascar are other successful names among children, besides some older classics like Spiderman –third favorite license in Germany and France; second in the UK–, Star Wars, Toy Story and The Simpsons. These results are taken from the latest wave of the Kids License Monitor (wave I/2016) carried out by Iconkids.

Attendees of the Iconkids & Youth congress in Munich.
Photo: Iconkids & Youth
Attendees of the Iconkids & Youth congress in Munich.

Tech savvy from an early age

Increasingly, children are getting exposed to smartphones, tablets and the likes through their parents at a young age, thus the use of these gadgets is progressively starting earlier. For instance, 20% of children aged 4-5 use a tablet at least once a week in Germany, a level not reached again until they’re 12-13 years old. The peak is explained through domestic behavior patterns. According to Axel Dammler of Iconkids, parents allowing their kids to play with a tablet to keep them distracted while they’re doing other attention demanding tasks are becoming more common.

Cell phone ownership doesn’t stop growing either, with an approximate growth rate of 10% across the analyzed age group (6-19 years) in 2016, when compared to last year.

Internet and TV as the most consumed media

A reason for online retailers like Zalando and ASOS to be more than happy: Children aged 14-29 spent 187 minutes per day surfing the Internet on average in 2015, compared to 25 minutes in 2010. The duration of use has almost multiplied per eight in only five years. TV remains the second favorite leisure activity which young people dedicate most of their time to (144 minutes per day in 2015).

Social media: The place to be for the youth

With only a small percentage of forerunners stepping into the social media field at the age of 8 or 9 (around 10%), the opening of at least one account in a social media channel experiences an exponential growth during the following decade, so that nearly 100% of all 18-19 year-old children have a profile on at least one of them. The survey was carried out by Iconkids & Youth among 1447 children aged 6-19.

Apple is cool and Samsung the brand to go

As smartphones become the gadget for our daily needs in terms of communication, information and entertainment, the relevance of tech giants such as Apple and Samsung also increases among kids. Apple still ranks number one in terms of perceived coolness (47%), but competitor Samsung is the leading manufacturer that most 6 to 19 year-old youngsters use for a smartphone (35%) or tablet (43%). Only 15- and 25% of the consulted children use an Apple phone or tablet respectively. 

Who defines the buying decision process?

The influence of children on the buying decision is on the rise, as mothers see no point in enforcing their will. According to congress speakers Sonja Schwarzer and Simone Jurkin, some of the reasons behind this could have to do with the fact that most of today’s mothers continue working while raising their children, which translates into less time and energy to dedicate to them. As a result, a guilty conscience arises among mothers which leads them to search for pragmatic solutions. They feel that children may want to relax after school, and should therefore have their own space and earn rewards when they do something good. Through their own experiences, they aren’t that critical anymore with their kids regarding the use of electronic devices and perceive advertising as something inherent to our society and thus acceptable.