December 01, 1998


Understanding Multicultural Kids Marketing

The face of America is changing; kids in the U.S. are increasingly diverse. The U.S. Census reports that among kids under age 15, there are more than 11 million children of Hispanic descent making up nearly 30% of the total Hispanic population. Among African-Americans, 27% of the population is under 15; and among Asians, 21% are under 15. In total, more than 40% of the total population of kids under age 15 in the U.S. is Asian, Hispanic, and African-American. Clearly this is a large target market for anyone involved in products, messages, and services directed toward kids and their parents.
As the current generation of youth is the most ethnically diverse generation of any that has come before, marketing to multicultural kids requires a profound and relevant understanding of kids’ lifestyles, attitudes, and behaviors, as well as an appreciation for the cultural differences at the core of their family and environment. This complexity is at the core of kids’ self-perception, selfconfidence and self-awareness, and manifests in many ways.

This study covers several key areas of interest for marketers including:

• Household composition
• Technology in the home
• Income and spending
• Food and perceptions of nutritional value
• Friendships and social activities
• Family dynamics
• Kids’ role in the home
• Self-identity and self-perception
• Diversity and kids’ environments
• Values and aspirations
• Concerns and worries

Some key findings from the inaugural year of the study include:

• Money and Finances

o 55% of kids receive an allowance and 69% receive spending money beyond their allowance. While many save ‘some’ of their money, only one in ten saves all of it. This indicates a high propensity to spend that discretionary income. However, the degree to which they spend it and what they spend it on varies by gender, age, and cultural background.

• Technology in the Home

o There are more than 3 televisions in the average child’s home and more than half of all kids have a television in their bedroom. DVD players are as prevalent as VCRs in the home althouh less likely in the kids’ bedroom, perhaps due to the presence of video game systems.

o 87% of kids have a computer in the home, and a third have two or more computers. Nearly eight in ten of those with at least one computer in the home have Internet access. Nearly 20% of kids 6-14 have a computer in their bedroom, the majority with Internet access.

• Kids Role Within the Family

o There are some key differences among parents with respect to the kids’ involvement within the family. For example, parents of all other backgrounds were more likely than Hispanic parents to feel that their children should be more involved in family matters. This is an important finding given the higher incidence of children among Hispanic families.

o In contrast, Hispanics and Asians were in consensus when it came to talking with their children about sensitive topics; both were consistently less comfortable discussing issues like sex and drugs than were White or African-American parents.

• Implications for Marketers

• With respect to spending money, looking at the different behaviors by small age groups, marketers can examine the key breakpoints when kids’ attention moves from one product group to another. In addition, understanding a cultural propensity to spend or save is crucial in attracting the right product and messaging for each child.

o In terms of the parent/child relationship, these differences are subtle and intriguing – particularly in contrasting Asian and Hispanic parents both immigrant groups with a larger family size on average.

What the results show is that culture, more than family size or national origin, has a profound impact on family values and traditions – it is at the core of each group’s value system.

Visit for more information or email U.S. Multicultural Kids Study 2004 is brought to you by Nickelodeon, the numberone entertainment brand for kids, and Cultural Access Group, the leader in
multicultural marketing research.

A true expert on today’s youth market, Nickelodeon conducts more than 365 focus groups and ten thousand personal interviews annually, researching kids’ lives, identities, attitudes and experiences.

Now in its 24th year, Nickelodeon has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does including television programming and production in the U.S. and internationally, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books, magazines and feature films. More than 86 million U.S. households see Nickelodeon, the number-one-rated basic cable network for more than eight consecutive years. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom International Inc.

Since 1985, Cultural Access Group (CAG) has been tracking America’s increasing ethnic diversity through innovative research and analyses. A pioneer in multicultural marketing services, CAG has provided strategic direction to over 200 blue chip clients. Supported by multilingual marketing and research capabilities, CAG has received acclaim as a leader in ethnic marketing, possessing unmatched cultural expertise and strengths.

Led by an experienced, diverse staff of professional researchers based in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Northern California, CAG provides an unparalleled understanding of the complexities involved in marketing campaigns for the U.S. multicultural market.

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