Kids Listen To Friends And Family More Than Influencers

Quite a bit has been written about the recent Wunderman Thompson Commerce report for showing that school-age kids, or Generation Alpha as they now seem to be called, are more influenced by influencers than ever before. YouTube and Instagram stars are the flavour of the day.

When asked to rate whom they are influenced by, around one in four went for this option. What is just as interesting to me is that more kids, at 28%, said their biggest influence is their group of friends. That means YouTube and Instagram "stars" were second, and in third place -- almost as popular as influencers -- was family. 

If you were to combine friends and family, the category would be twice as big as the pulling power of influencers. I know this makes me a bit of a fly in the ointment by not going along fully with the narrative that kids are being influenced by influencers. They most certainly are, and I only have to talk to my Generation Alpha kids and their friends to realise their stars are not always on tv stations or pop bands, but rather the apps they have on their phones and tablets. 

The point is, though, that this generation have shown they trust friends and family way above what some guy on YouTube is telling them to buy as they do some crazy stunt. As ever, it's the line that the marketing world wants to hear that comes out as the main headline. 

When Kantar took a look at where consumers find information about brands, internet sites was the fairly obvious top answer. However, again a little finding that you need to poke out came with the second-place answer -- friends and family. The third top answer was review sites, and then we had social media. 

I know it's the accepted line to talk about influencers and the power of social, but it's worth bearing in mind that not only do people rate reviews for products and services above information they see on social media, they rate what friends tell them about brands significantly more than contacts on social media platforms. 

So for what it's worth, my takeaway from the Generation Alpha research was that yes, kids are influenced by Instagrammers and YouTubers, but they've actually very much like adults. They place their trust in the brands they want to shop with based on what their friends and family think. The celebrities accessed through video and social apps are an influence, but nothing like friends and family.

Word of mouth is alive and well in the kids of today, who will soon be the shoppers of tomorrow. 

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