From THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, November 02, 2001


Pocket money melts into ice-cream, chocolates

Neha Kaushik


IMPULSE foods rule the preference scale as far as the buying behaviour of children in India is concerned. In fact, the top six expense items for children seem to be impulse foods, with 17 per cent of the total pocket money spent on ice-creams, 12 per cent on chocolates and 10 per cent each on soft drinks and fast food.

This was one of the findings of a survey conducted by research agency NFO-MBL, called Junior Perspectives 2001. The survey, conducted on 7-14 year olds (belonging to SEC A, B, C) from Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Vijayawada, and Lucknow, attempts to study the child's preferences and behaviour both as a child and as a consumer.

According to the survey, almost half the children (about 49 per cent) in India enjoy pocket money, averaging about Rs 132 per month. However, the amount varies dramatically across different cities.

Meanwhile, on an average, about Rs 1,139 is spent on clothes for children every year, with all 100 per cent of the respondents saying that they have spent on this category in the last one year.

Following closely are birthday presents for the children with 90 per cent of the respondents having spent on this category (an average of Rs 459) and birthday parties (an average spend of Rs 1,133) with 50 per cent of the respondents having spent on them.

And expectedly, with increasing modernisation, the child has emerged as a powerful influencer on almost all indulgence purchases. In fact, according to the survey, the mother actually admits the child's influence even in the purchase of personal care brands. And this increases as the child grows older.

The survey finds that along with progressing age from 7 to 13 years comes a need for more independence, a need to be recognised as individuals and to be treated as grown-ups. For instance, a higher percentage of older children admitted to be buying items for the home and selecting his/her clothes.

However, this independence need not be mistaken for growing disenchantment with family or home. Most children rated parents to be their most valued possessions followed by toys and books at a distant second and third respectively.

In fact, the father emerges as the all-powerful role model for both boys and girls. Interestingly, though the survey finds that the mother is looked upon as a role model by some girls, they are clearly not looked to for guidance by their sons.

This could, however, change in the years to come as more and more women aim to have a professional career and become earning members of the family.

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