Today marks Prince George’s first birthday – a year on and it’s safe to say this fashion forward first year is a trendsetter with brands turning towards the one-year-old for product inspiration, from bird-patterned blankets to kangaroo back-packs.

As the future monarch blows out his first candle – we take a look at what tops British kids and teens wishlists for birthdays as well as their later lives.

Birthday wish-list

As only under a fifth (17%) of children receive more than £30 monthly, their money does not always go a long way towards the more expensive items that children might like to have. This explains why over half (54%) of children would prefer getting cash for their birthday. Technology purchases are also top of mind for today’s children and teens, with video games consoles and games topping birthday wish lists for two fifths (38%) of 7-15-year-olds.

In third place on the birthday list are smartphones, with 32% of kids and teens saying they would ask for this for their next birthday. However, whilst parents can ensure their child is contactable by giving them a mobile phone, Mintel data suggests that there are other reasons for purchasing technology products for children. As illustrated in Mintel’s Teens’ and Tweens’ Technology Usage UK 2013 report, over four in ten (43%) parents with children aged 10-15 using a tablet computer agreed that the device can be used for educational purposes and not just for entertainment. A third (33%) of parents whose children use a smartphone agreed with the same statement.

Later life plans

Whilst Prince George will inevitably have a rather limited choice of career – for average British children and teens, contrary to popular belief, the cult of celebrity is not very strong, with only 4% expressing the desire to be famous.

Instead, professions that involve taking care of animals (a vet) and working with others (a medical professional or a teacher) are top of mind, as they perhaps resemble the role models children learn/read about in school, with 11% of 7-15-year-olds saying they want to be a vet/work with animals,10% wanting to be a doctor/nurse/dentist, and 10% aspiring to teach.

Children’s aspirations are strongly shaped by gender, with boys being somewhat less likely to have thought about their future profession, compared to girls. With caring and creative professions appealing strongly to girls, being an athlete and starting their own business holds comparatively more appeal for boys. However, teenage boys are the most uncertain about their future occupation (19%), compared with teenage girls (12%), perhaps exposing the need for further opportunities to help school children develop a stronger interest in certain subjects that would guide their future career choice.

Having come of age in an era of rising self-employment and new ideas driven by rapid advancements in technology, children and teens are beginning to aspire to one day owning their own businesses. This is becoming more of a trend, especially in light of increased tuition fees at English universities, making some question the benefits of higher education. Going forward we will likely see more retailers and brands expanding the array of products that broaden children’s skillsets and encourage kids to actively participate in generating/providing feedback on new product ideas and the testing of new designs.

Mintel’s Lifestyles of Children and Teens UK 2014 report explores how children and teens spend their pocket money, looks at what snacks they ask their parents to buy for them, examines attitudes towards various media, and looks at their future aspirations and present concerns. The report is available to purchase priced £1,750.

Ina writes Mintel’s UK Lifestyles reports analysing consumer behavior and attitudes. Prior to joining Mintel in 2011, Ina was a Quantitative Manager at Forrester Research. She has a BA degree in Economics and a Masters degree in Public Policy and Administration.

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