Children's materialism increasing

According to a recent survey, marketing efforts aimed at kids may be making them more materialistic. "We were surprised to find no difference between how materialistic the 9-year-old and 14-year-old children were in the survey," says Marvin Goldberg, professor of marketing at Penn State in University Park, Pa. He notes that over the past decade, marketers have increasingly targeted 9-to-14-year-olds (labeled "tweens").

"The gap in perspective between children and adults is being reduced daily, by both marketing and communication efforts," Dr. Goldberg says. "We're seeing the Britney Spears-type phenomenon: the highly charged-highly sexual marketing efforts that are targeted to tweens."

US youngsters account for an estimated $36 billion in annual sales, and may directly influence $290 billion of decisions on everything from choice of stereos to vacations. Those deemed most materialistic exerted more influence on their parents to buy products and were more likely to ask for products advertised on TV.

Studying materialism among the young is important, Goldberg says. In a broad sense, the values that young people carry with them into adulthood - perhaps especially that of materialism, he adds - will no doubt affect the balance in the private and public choices they make throughout life.

Source: Penn State University

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