Kids Insights, a global leader in kids’ market intelligence, looks at how children’s attitudes, behaviours and consumption habits have been affected by the outbreak of Covid-19.
Whatever you were thinking when you heard the clocks chime and the fireworks explode at New Years’, as you contemplated what lies ahead, none of us could have foreseen this. A world seemingly on pause, and one which is likely to have changed forever.
But, as we can see from our data, the world is not on pause; kids are still forming their attitudes and behaviours and consuming content, products and services – in many ways we are in the calm before the storm. As a sense of normality returns, consumers' attitudes, behaviours and consumption habits across the globe are likely to evolve and change for a long term, if not indefinitely.
From a commercial perspective there is no doubt the consequences are going to be significant for us all. There will of course be challenges, and there will also be opportunities. But unusually in a world which is often so hectic, it feels like we have more time, and if used wisely this time will give us all a huge opportunity to take a step back, reflect and reimagine what our future is going to look like.
From the start of this outbreak, we have been saying to clients and partners that we believe that this period of time will be known as “BC” (Before Coronavirus), “DC” (During Coronavirus) and ultimately “AC” (After Coronavirus).
And furthermore, for many, 2020 and 2021 will merge as years from a planning and budgeting perspective, and what will come out of this period will be an acceleration of innovation – new products, services, distribution and business models. It really will be a sprint as brands battle for consumers' attention and spend.
But in reality, what does it mean over the next few months?
Well, we believe that any traditional market intelligence you may have previously purchased will be very much redundant, that sales data will be less insightful than usual and that the plans you had in place before, probably needs reworking.
During these challenging times, we have continued to survey more than 3,000 kids a week (across nine countries). Our real-time data is providing an insight into how children’s attitudes, behaviours and consumption have changed in this “DC” period and these insights are helping clients keep up to date with the latest trends.
Some of the changes we are seeing in our data include:
Increased levels of anxiety among children
The severity of the current situation has clearly not passed children by. As a result of the global pandemic and subsequent lockdown in many countries, children across the globe are becoming increasingly anxious.
In the UK the number of kids feeling anxious has increased to just over a quarter (26.9 per cent), a 23 per cent increase. And, at either end of the spectrum, in Germany (the country that has had the lowest levels of kids feeling anxious in the last twelve months) and India (the country that has the highest level of kids feeling anxious) both have seen huge increases in kids reporting that they are feeling anxious. The number of kids feeling anxious has more than doubled in Germany (14.6 per cent) and India (49.5 per cent). In Italy, arguably the first European country to be affected by the disease, the number of kids feeling anxious increased by 17 per cent to 14.2 per cent.
Increased concerns about the economy among teens
While teens have valid concerns about a number of topics, concerns over the economy have increased across markets.
Current affairs and personal family circumstances that have altered as a result of Covid-19 are unsurprisingly affecting the way teens feel about economic climate of their country. In France and Italy, there has been a 20 per cent increase in teens worrying about the economy. In India, a nation that already had the highest levels of concern, there has been a four per cent increase DC – now 30 per cent of kids are concerned about the economy. Concerns in the UK have increased by four per cent, and in the US there has been a 10 per cent increase.
Changes in how children are spending their time
We have seen changes in the way children are spending their time – perhaps trying to alleviate some of these feelings of anxiousness and take their minds off of the things that are concerning them.
- Increased participation and viewing of eSports
Despite numerous cancellations, just like traditional sports, the number of kids participating and watching eSports on screen has grown substantially in a number of regions across the last month for five- to 18-year-olds in lockdown. This is the case in the US, France and India, where viewing eSports has increased to 17 per cent (+13 per cent), 13.9 per cent (+16 per cent) and 40.3 per cent (+nine per cent) respectively. And participation has seen a greater increase, up by 33 per cent in the US (7.6 per cent), an increase of 18 per cent in France (4.5 per cent) and up by 15 per cent in India (23.1 per cent).
- Change in TV and VOD viewing habits
When looking at TV and VOD consumption, we have seen a number of changes in the viewing habits of kids across the globe. Subscription-based platforms, Netflix and Amazon Prime have seen a boost in engagement DC and in some markets appear to be taking viewers from YouTube.
Netflix, the most popular of all on-demand platforms, has seen an engagement increase in some of the central European markets, with the exception of Italy. Kids watching Netflix in France has increased by 17 per cent DC and by eight per cent in both Germany and Spain. Engagement increases have been modest in India (up three per cent DC), flat in the UK and in the US, there has been a 13 per cent decrease in kids watching Netflix.
Disney+, has no doubt impacted viewership in the US, in March 36.5 per cent of US kids viewed the platform (eighth most viewed) and of that 26.1 per cent of kids say it is their favourite platform – ahead of Netflix, which is the favourite platform for 25.4 per cent of kids.
- Kids are looking for new ways to connect and socialise
But kids are also looking for new ways to connect and socialise in this uncertain time, as well as ways of entertaining themselves at home.
In the UK, the Houseparty app has grown substantially in the last month. Our data shows that 140,000 kids aged five to 18 have used it to chat in the last month – up from an average across the last year of just 13,000. Houseparty in the US has also demonstrated similar growth across the last month, up from 17,000 to 690,000 users.
‘In-game chat’ has also proved more popular this month as children increasingly seek out opportunities to connect via a shared experience or interest. In the UK we have seen this almost double (48 per cent increase) to 4.3 per cent and in the US – the market most likely to use this medium to chat – we have seen an increase of 8 per cent to 5.2 per cent. While numbers remain modest in other markets, we have seen a three-fold increase in France (now at 2.4 per cent), Italy (2.7 per cent). and in Spain, in-game chat has doubled to 1.6 per cent.
- Increased engagement with games and toys that facilitate family-time
Games and toys that facilitate family-time have also seen an increase, bonding families together DC and providing a form of entertainment that all ages can enjoy.
For example, in the UK, the number of kids playing card games has increased to 7.8 per cent from 4.3 per cent. And two per cent of kids now say board games are their favourite toy or game (up from 1.2 per cent BC).
In Italy, we have seen the number of kids who say board games are their favourite toy or game increase from 2.6 per cent to 4.2 per cent. In India, we have seen it rise from two per cent to 2.4 per cent, in Germany board games now rank as a second favourite toy (5.1 per cent from 2.8 per cent) and in the US it has moved to 2.4 per cent – up from 1.3 per cent –meaning that board games now rank as the fourth favourite toy (up from tenth position previously). Meanwhile, in Spain, the figure has risen to 5.5 per cent from 3.3 per cent. And, in March, children living in Spain ranked Monopoly number-one favourite to play – up from second place (7.5 per cent versus 4.2 per cent).
How can we help?
From our side, it is business as usual, we continue to gather and share data via our real-time data portal, write market intelligence reports and support our clients. We continue to invest in improving everything we do to support our clients more – and at the moment that includes daily briefings on how the kids' ecosystem is changing and bringing some new tools into the portal to aid advertising and media planning, content strategy and marketing innovation.
Our real-time data continues to provide an insight into kids ecosystem and its changes in this “DC” period that helps our clients keep up to date with the latest trends (ultimately through a combination of “BC”, “DC” and “AC” data) and informs their decisions as they reconsider and re-evaluate their strategies to maximise any investment they make in advertising, content, licensing, marketing, product or sales so that they can come out running on the other side.
We would, of course, like to help each and every one of you, so please get in touch for a chat about how we can help you navigate this storm to initially a safe place, and in time a prosperous one too.
If you would like to download our complimentary report identifying some of the changes we have seen, and with five predictions on how we think the kids, parents and family ecosystem will change visit www.kidsinsights.com/ac.