Techy young people: their value for marketers

18 Oct 2012  |  Alice Dunn 

Alice Dunn, marketing executive at Kantar Media, explores the narrowing gender gap amongst the young to be interested in all things 'techy'.

There is a longstanding stereotype. Interest in technology, IT and gadgets is an overwhelmingly male preserve. To a certain extent this is re-inforced when looking at the workplaces of companies involved in tech industries, which are frequently dominated by men.

However, new insight from Kantar Media's Youth TGI survey reveals that at a young age, the gender split is closer than for other age groups. Looking at 11-19 year olds who consider themselves experts in technology - are always the first to try out new things and enjoy spending time on a computer, this group of 'techy kids' comprises almost 800,000 11-19 year olds, of which 60% are male and 40% female.

There is real value to marketers in targeting these 'techy kids' because they are 24% more likely than the average 11-19 year old to have the highest levels of purchase responsibility. This means they are particularly likely to directly purchase what they want, in addition to any 'pester power' influence over their parents. For the marketer, therefore, targeting this group could prove especially lucrative.

Being particularly interested in technology, these 'techy kids' spend a lot of time online, which consequently represents an effective way to reach them. A quarter (25%) of the group spend more than 45 hours a week online, compared to 15% of all 11-19s. Social networking sites are especially attractive to them; they are 39% more likely than the average 11-19 year old to visit such sites at least five times a day. When on these social networking sites, they like to chat to friends; 86% of them say they use these sites to keep in touch with friends.

Keeping in close contact with friends goes hand in hand with influencing others and insight from Youth TGI reveals that these 'techy kids' are indeed heavy influencers in a range of areas. For example, they are a third more likely than the average 11-19 year old to be asked for advice on computer games by their schoolmates. When it comes to their parents, they are 21% more likely to be asked for advice on new films. This will be welcome news for marketers, as those who connect efficiently could well see their messages spread far and wide.

Attitudinally, this group break away from stereotypical images of 'quiet' and 'geeky', which helps to explain their busy social lives and influence among their peers. Indeed, they are a particularly confident bunch, over twice as likely to think they are cooler than their friends. They also like to stand out in a crowd, keep up with the latest fashions and two thirds of them have a burning desire to be famous - compared to just a third of all 11-19 year olds.

As well as spending a good deal of time online these 'techy kids' are true media multi-taskers. They are more likely to be in the the heaviest quintile of 11-19 year old consumers of newspapers, magazines, cinema and internet.

They are also susceptible to advertising across a range of media. They are 80% more likely to like buying things they have seen advertised on TV and significantly more likely to enjoy ads on TV and in magazines. Their openness to advertising and the range of media they consume suggests that cross-media campaigns may be particularly efficient in reaching them.

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