Rising Individualism and Growing Wallets Among Teens and Tweens

New York, September 16, 2005—GfK NOP announced results from its 2005 Roper Youth Report that show 55% of today's youth saying they have their own way of doing things and are comfortable with and cling fiercely to their individuality. This figure is up eight percentage points from last year and represents a rising sense of individualism among America's teens and tweens, as well as a simultaneous jump in their spending power.

Growing Individualism in a Mix-and-Match World…from iPod to Identity

In line with their growing sense of individuality, 43% of teens and tweens agree that they are unafraid to do things their peers say is "uncool." In addition, fewer and fewer are daydreaming about being someone else. Only 18% of kids in 2005 would rather be a famous actor or actress, compared to 27% just three years ago.

Added to this rise in individualism is the ability to customize items, such as cell phones and iPods. This continually evolving mix-and-match environment lets teens and tweens express their sense of self by choosing unique ring tones, ever-expanding cell phone features, and portable music play lists. In fact, nearly two-thirds (62%) of 8- to 17-year-olds find technology exciting.

Teen Wallets Grow Thicker as Parents Open Purse Strings

The Youth Report also found that teen-and-tween wallets have expanded in the last year. Kids are earning $29.20 per week, two dollars more than in 2004, with 29% of their money coming straight from parents. Chores (37%) and gifts (23%) account for other popular sources of teen income. A powerful consumer segment, teens and tweens are spending their money on the usual kid items: candy (33%), soda (28%) and clothes (25%). CDs and video games make up a combined 29% of teen spending, though parents still are purchasing the more expensive video game units.

Nearly one-third (30%) of 8- to 17-year-olds say they are involved in making family purchase decisions, up four percentage points from last year, as parents increasingly turn to their kids for advice on what to buy. Teens and tweens also indicate that they influence purchase decisions on everything from cell-phone service to the right cable provider.

Conducted in two waves, the GfK NOP 2005 Roper Youth Report included 1,000 in-depth, in-person interviews with 8- to 17-year-olds. The sample is nationally representative of the youth population in the United States.

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