It's no secret that young people drive purchasing decisions for their families. Youthful influence is abundant whether it's their favorite extra curricular activity's new accessory or back to school gear and supplies. Of course, the lead-up to the Christmas season is no exception, when ads are filled with star-studded promotions and the newest must-have tech toys.
In light of the current economic meltdown occurring during most retailers' premium shopping period, I decided to conduct a survey to see if the current cash and credit shortage had trickled its way down to tweens and their "wish lists" for this Christmas. Not much has changed for younger generations, who are almost all still dependent on their parents' income.
Not surprisingly, entertainment and technology dominated the top ten list of the most sought-after items. A whopping four of the top ten were video gaming consoles: Nintendo's Wii and DS, the Sony Playstation, and the Xbox. Guitar Hero won big points as the most mentioned game. As for tech gadgets, music and entertainment are the focus with both the iPod and laptops scoring high marks. Even the toy with the longest shelf life - LEGO's - had a tie-in to entertainment, as the most popular LEGO models were based on movies: Indiana Jones and Star Wars. All-around actress/musician Hannah Montana and her associated merchandise also made the list. And, new clothes and shoes/sneakers, perennial favorites, tie everything together. What good would new gadgets and games be without something fashionable to wear while playing them?
It does seem, however, that parents are ever-so-slightly affected by the economic recession. Of those surveyed, only 12% said they would spend less than $100 on Christmas this season. But, 71% said they would spend less than $500, putting some of the above-mentioned gadgets and consoles nearly out of reach. It looks like most tweens are still going to be happy when they wake up on December 25, but one new toy - instead of two or three - may have to occupy them for 2009.