Friday, December 15, 2006

Tween twist

Tween as you all know refers to prepubescent children. Though, the term Tween varies according to different sources. A child in the age group of 8 to 12 years starts to act think and reflect more teen and adult natures. They form an opinion of their own. They look forward to share more with their friends than their parents. Therefore, as a consumer segment they are of a growing importance to marketers.

India has the world’s largest population of tweens with over 116 million and growing. 60% of Indian tweens live in poverty and the number of tweens living on the street is rising while the urban middle class tweens boast of spending, significantly. Indian tweens are of no different from their western counterpart. To them their self-image is as important as the ‘cool factor.’ The only difference between the teens and the tweens from a marketing perspective is that the later is still under their parents’ wing. They are growing with technology. Internet has helped them to find an identity and give them a voice. They are rejecting anything that seems like a child product. While the boy-tweens are very much into sports (both indoor and outdoor), girl-tweens are avid readers of glossy magazines. They are more informed and influence heavily in any family purchase decision.

The KGOY (Kids getting older younger) factor is hitting the industry hard. Marketers in India are clueless on how to talk to them in the tone and manner that they like. How to talk to techno-savvy tweens of tomorrow remain a million dollar question.

The key to future success in marketing to tweens lies in interactivity. Harry Potter swept tweens the world over with its book series, movies series, merchandise; ‘Krissh’ with its multi-dimensional approach achieved some success.

So how will the future look like?

  • Confectionery will still remain largest area of expenditure.
  • Soft drinks will find stiff competition from health drinks and fruit drinks.
  • Traditional toys and games will suffer setback from electronic/video games, Game consoles will be really BIG, robotic toys will take over Barbie’s of the world.
  • The influence of celebrities on tweens will be significant.
  • Tween Specialist stores will spring up.
  • Tween specific products will be on the rise eg. Young Nokia, Young Samsung, Young iPod, Young Nike, Young Levis will find a market of its own.
  • Make-your-own products will see a boom time.
  • Plethora of tween specific finance products will be offered by banks.
  • More tween specific media content will be seen on TV e.g. TVS Junior Sa Re Ga Ma, Tween Idol, Tween Roadies. Tween specific websites will appear e.g. Wiki Kids, Ask Jeeves for Kids

Brands are beginning to recognize the power of tweens as you can see. Reckless consumption due to growth of economy will become the norm. Tweens will develop a conscience of their own, will grow sensitive to their environment and demand products that will conform to their expectations.

If you think the tween market will really get twisted then let’s debate on this issue and keep your comments coming.


Raghu said...

Dear Planning Blogger or Plogger, I am pretty new to these generally obvious facts that are blatantly ignored being articulated. In other words, I find all these deep thinking about human minds and behvaiours pretty interesting. As a planner, you ought to master this skil. But this thing about tweens, I would like to ask you one thing- are we getting paranoid? Or are we creating a way of thinking ala Baby Boomers phenomenon back in the US? I await your response.

pooR_Planner said...

Lol ... okay we are not getting paranoid here but we're gearing up for the future. Tweens today get big time pocket money, so what do they do with it, what can a brand do to get a share of that, how can a brand become a part of his/her life right from this very young age and continue to grow with him/her in future. Let's not forget another 5 to 10 years we all will be talking to them. So the better we get to understand their environment now, the smoother will be our brand conversation. Cheers!

Raghu said...

As humans, won't they grow up? And become just like us? I mean, we are talking a society that is India. And not a nation called USA. After a certain point in time, a majority of us when we grow old, go back to becoming our parents. Sensibilities, and dispositions included. If that is agreed upon, these tweens could be important. But not different. No?

pooR_Planner said...

Yes, as human being they will grow up and grow up they will with their environment. New media, new technology, internet, broadband, game console, those tweens are becoming a behemoth which we were not during our days as tween. As Indians the psyche growth of these tween will be more so because we as parents aspire for everything firang which will indeed have an impact on them. Now that's something to watch out for.

Nitya said...

hey roop,
thanks for the note... was reading an article at, which talks of this phenomenon globally of 10yrs being the new 15. essentially the up-ageing of kids & down-ageing of adults.

pooR_Planner said...

You are right Nitya, the KGOY factor is indeed hitting us hard. To draw a very good analogy, my 7 year old cousin identifies with almost all automobile brand logos He is a avid gamer and spends 5 hrs playing "need for speed" ... now thats something to look out for. He is developing an opinion about car brands and what he would want to drive when he grows up. As marketers/agencies, we gotta keep a tab on this ever changing landscape and a constant follow-up with the kind of opinions they are developing.