DUBAI: Friends and peers influence the back-to-school shopping choices of children, reveals a new survey independently commissioned by Centrepoint, the Landmark Group’s fashion destination, and conducted by YouGov, covering over 1,000 respondents – mostly parents – across the Middle East and North Africa region.
The ‘Back to School’ Survey conducted from July 22 to 29, in key markets across the MENA region, revealed that 46 per cent of the children are inspired by their friends, while shopping decisions on back-to-school purchases are influenced by 41 per cent of the parents – nearly two in five, surveyed.
The findings of the survey offer interesting insights on the shopping trends during the back-to-school season, when brisk retail activity is reported as hundreds of thousands of children prepare for returning to school after their summer breaks.
Simon Smith, Chief Operating Officer of Centrepoint, said: “This is the first time we commissioned a back-to-school survey in the region and we are excited to see the outcomes, which give unique insights on purchase decisions by children. This is an important shopping season of the year, and retailers and brands must be on watch for new and ongoing back-to-school trends. In the weeks ahead, parents along with their children will take advantage of the deals that retailers will offer and by drawing on these new eye and interesting trends. As part of ‘Cool for School’ campaign this year, Centrepoint has introduced an extensive back-to-school range, making it a one-stop-shop for all your schools essentials.”
Kerry McLaren, Head of Omnibus MENA at YouGov, said: “The back-to-school survey aims at acquiring a better understanding of what the younger generation wants today when it comes to school essentials. It was interesting to see that most kids get their choice inspiration from friends and parents with whom they connect on daily basis.”
About one-third children are influenced by advertisements while only one in four reported to be swayed by influencers and famous personalities. Nearly one in four purchase decisions are influenced by movies while one in three parents said their children are persuaded to buy what they saw online (not social media), with only 22 per cent stating that social media network inspire a child’s choice in back-to-school essential purchases. As the region focuses on building an e-commerce ecosystem, there is critical need that brands in the region optimise their online presence to make sure they are reaching the right audience with the right campaigns, at the right time.
In other top findings, parents report that children are most excited about their backpacks when shopping for back-to-school. Some 71 per cent parents surveyed said their children are most excited about buying backpacks followed by clothes (62 per cent), footwear (61 per cent) and classroom supplies (57 per cent).
With branded accessories now the norm in back-to-school shopping, one-third of parents surveyed said their children look for Disney cartoon characters on their back-to-school purchases, followed by Barbie (32 percent), Hello Kitty (29 per cent), Disney princesses (26 per cent), superheroes (23 per cent) and Disney animated movie characters (23 per cent).
In the UAE, the choice among Disney cartoon characters, Hello Kitty and Barbie are almost on par at 32 per cent while Marvel superheroes (27%) and Disney princesses are the next most popular at 26 per cent followed by other cartoon characters such as Powerpuff Girls and Disney movie characters (20 per cent each), other animated movie characters such as Minions and Kung Fu Panda (18 per cent).
Famous personalities, bands and singers do not curry much favour among children with only 3 to 4 per cent making a purchase decision based on these illustrations in both the UAE and Saudi. Fictional characters such as from the Harry Potter series, Games of Thrones and Star Wars too are not exceptionally popular with only 9 per cent rooting for it in both the markets.
Children seem to prefer casuals as their preferred fashion brand with 45 per cent parents stating casuals are the first choice of their children followed by sports-inspired (38 per cent) and athleisure (36 per cent) clothing. With bundle packages being part of the shopping experience, the choice is almost evenly split with 51 per cent children preferring to buy individual items with multiple themes compared to 49 per cent opting for bundled packages.
When it comes to purchasing for back-to-school suppliers, nearly 45 per cent parents said purchasing is a combined decision that involves parents and children while one in three families said moms have the final word. Children by themselves are least likely to make the purchase decision with only 8 per cent of those surveyed stating their children make the decision.