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UK Children's Online Spending Habits market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Children's Online Spending Habits market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Products covered in this Report

The term ‘online spending’ includes purchase of goods, media and services over the internet. The definition includes purchases from websites (eg Amazon) and web-based stores (eg iTunes). It also includes purchases made within apps and games (eg buying items in Pokémon GO). The consumer research in this Report examined responses from children aged 10-15, and their parents

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Andrew Moss, a leading analyst in the Technology sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Children are particularly responsive to products seen online, so brands must keep a strong social media presence and work with social influencers to promote their product. However, brands must also ensure they are responsibly targeting these consumers to ensure the gatekeepers to a child’s money – the parents – are satisfied with where the money is spent. Andrew Moss
Technology Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Tablets drive young children’s increased time online
              • Companies lock down unwanted in-app spending
                • More games are adopting in-game purchasing models
                  • Parents concerned over gambling behaviours
                    • Facebook feed changes may reduce social media-influenced spending
                      • Vloggers, sponsored content, and commercial interests
                        • Open Banking may change children’s banking products
                          • The consumer
                            • Cash still the most popular pocket money method
                              • Figure 1: Ways parents give their child money, September 2017
                            • Seven in 10 kids spend money online
                              • Figure 2: Ways a child makes purchases online, September 2017
                            • Most parents report controlling their child’s online spending in some way
                              • Figure 3: Parent’s control of their child’s online spending, September 2017
                            • Clothing the most popular item children purchase
                              • Figure 4: Items bought by children online, September 2017
                            • Streaming services
                              • Figure 5: Children’s purchasing of music and video subscription services, September 2017
                            • Toys and clothes the most regularly purchased items
                              • Figure 6: Regularity of things bought by children online, September 2017
                            • Amazon most popular place for children’s online spending
                              • Figure 7: Locations of purchasing online, September 2017
                            • Social media prompts purchasing
                              • Figure 8: Children’s online spending behaviour, September 2017
                            • What we think
                            • Issues and Insights

                              • Parents or guardians are the gatekeepers to children’s spending
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                    • Social and media networks the key to product discovery
                                      • The facts
                                        • The implications
                                        • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                          • Tablets drive young children’s increased time online
                                            • Companies lock down unwanted in-app spending
                                              • More games are adopting in-game purchasing models
                                                • Parents concerned over gambling behaviours
                                                  • Facebook feed changes may reduce social media-influenced spending
                                                    • Vloggers, sponsored content, and commercial interests
                                                    • Market Drivers

                                                      • Tablets drive young children’s increased time online
                                                        • Figure 9: Devices teens and tweens use, by age, March 2017
                                                      • Companies lock down unwanted in-app spending…
                                                        • …but more games are adopting in-game purchasing models
                                                          • Loot boxes provide a gateway to gambling behaviours…
                                                            • …and virtual items can be used for actual gambling
                                                              • Facebook feed changes may reduce social media-influenced spending
                                                                • Vloggers, sponsored content, and commercial interests
                                                                  • Subscription services a family purchase
                                                                    • Figure 10: Netflix multiple user profiles selection screen
                                                                  • Children’s current accounts versus prepaid cards
                                                                    • Open Banking a potential game changer for managing children’s spending
                                                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                      • Cash still the most popular pocket money method
                                                                        • Seven in 10 kids spend money online
                                                                          • Most parents report controlling their child’s online spending in some way
                                                                            • Clothing the most popular item children purchase
                                                                              • Streaming services
                                                                                • Toys and clothes the most regularly purchased items
                                                                                  • Amazon most popular place for children’s online spending
                                                                                    • Social media prompts purchasing
                                                                                    • How Parents Dispense Pocket Money

                                                                                      • Cash still the most popular pocket money method
                                                                                        • Uptake of prepaid cards remains low
                                                                                          • Figure 11: Ways parents give their child money, September 2017
                                                                                        • Young parents more likely to use prepaid cards
                                                                                          • Figure 12: Ways parents give their child money, by parent’s age, September 2017
                                                                                      • Online Spending Methods and Regularity

                                                                                        • Seven in 10 kids spend money online
                                                                                          • Gift cards a popular form of controlled spending
                                                                                            • Figure 13: Ways a child makes purchases online, September 2017
                                                                                          • General online purchasing increases with age…
                                                                                            • …but age doesn’t increase spending methods equally
                                                                                              • Figure 14: Ways a child makes purchases online, by age, September 2017
                                                                                          • Control of Online Spending

                                                                                            • Most parents report controlling their child’s online spending in some way
                                                                                              • Figure 15: Parent’s control of their child’s online spending, September 2017
                                                                                            • Having own bank account comes with fewer restrictions on online purchasing
                                                                                              • Figure 16: Parental controls over their child’s online spending, by a child’s access to their own bank account, September 2017
                                                                                          • What Children Buy Online

                                                                                            • Clothing the most popular item children purchase
                                                                                              • Figure 17: Items bought by children online, September 2017
                                                                                            • Digital games outsell physical copies
                                                                                              • Figure 18: Items bought by children online, by age, September 2017
                                                                                            • Streaming services have a bright future for media consumption
                                                                                              • Figure 19: Children’s purchasing of music and video subscription services, September 2017
                                                                                          • Purchasing Regularity and Places Shopped

                                                                                            • Toys and clothes the most regularly purchased items
                                                                                              • Game longevity likely linked to less regular purchasing
                                                                                                • Figure 20: Regularity of things bought by children online, September 2017
                                                                                              • Amazon most popular place for children’s online spending
                                                                                                • Figure 21: Locations of purchasing online, September 2017
                                                                                              • Boys more likely to buy on gaming stores, while girls shop for music
                                                                                                • Figure 22: Places children purchase online, by gender, September 2017
                                                                                            • Spending Behaviours

                                                                                              • Social media prompts purchasing
                                                                                                • Figure 23: Children’s online spending behaviour, September 2017
                                                                                              • Purchasing freedom related to increased online spending, but also increased financial awareness
                                                                                                • Figure 24: Children’s online spending behaviour, by whether they have access to their own bank account, September 2017
                                                                                            • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                • Abbreviations
                                                                                                  • Consumer research methodology