What's New Scooby Doo? Keeping on top of trends in the kids and youth market

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The kid’s market moves quickly and it can feel hard work keeping on top of the latest trends.  We’re often asked ‘what’s new?’ And to predict ‘what’s next?’  What’s going to be the next loomband or Minecraft?  And the fact is that I wish we knew. 

But the kids market is unpredictable.  It’s difficult to see how anyone could have predicted the loomband craze because it is so simple and so random and crazes like Minecraft and Instagram because they are driven by what’s possible with technology which is evolving constantly.

Although we can’t say the specific items that will make it big in the next few years, we've identified 9 themes that we predict will shape the kid’s market.  

Here are four of these themes. 

Trends 1, 2 and 3 - Recycling, Evolution and a Change of direction are driving many of the new trends we see today

The first three themes are around innovation without re-inventing the wheel.

1. Recycling - There’s a massive surge in the re-invention of classic brands, shows and characters.  Brands, manufacturers and programme makers are realising the same character personalities and stories are as popular today as they always have been and are bringing back more and more of the timeless classics.  

Platypus’ partner Dr Adam Galpin, Media Psychologist at Salford University suggests that this is because there are certain qualities that appeal to children broadly such as humour, weirdness, fantasy, and being able to understand and master the narratives (these increase or decrease in importance at different ages).

  “If a story nails it then there’s no reason why it wouldn’t be popular for generations because young children aren't that bothered by trends.” Dr Adam Galpin.

Doing more of what works is the key.  So get ready to get nostalgic with the Teletubbies, Clangers, Moomins and more.

2. Evolution - Kids get excited about the latest release and new developments to existing toys, games and media.  This is newness but in a familiar context e.g. Snapchat Rainbow and Oovoo (video chat technology).  We can also see this in the food sector with familiar brands or different formats are being used to revitalise and excite particular categories e.g. Disney chilled ready meals.

3. Change of direction - Online viewing and social media platforms are likely to be the spark for some of the next latest trends. Taking offline concepts, developing them and moving them into new platforms which allow limitless possibilities.  For example Lego to Minecraft, Digipets from digital toys to apps, Carebears with new Netflix series, Animal Jam being a popular kid’s social networking site.

We are also seeing a trend going from digital to offline e.g. You Tubers publishing books and becoming brands in their own right (Girl Online by Zoella, Nerdy Nummies Cookbook, Stampy Cat etc). 

Trend 4 – Creative Learning

You Tube and digital apps has woken us up to the fact that kids like to learn.

We are seeing an explosion of interest and new products, books, and digital content surroundinglearning – that might be new knowledge or new skills.   You Tube and digital apps has woken us up to the fact that kids like to learn. They are hungry for new information and if something interests them they will search out that information themselves and develop their knowledge.

Sit forward entertainment – the ability to control and participate (in other words play) is becoming more and more popular online and offline.

There is likely to be many new trends sparked from the creative learning theme.  With organisations such as The Wellcome Trust who are pioneering the provision of informal science learning for young people and new products such as E=MC2 dolls based around science learning this is an area to watch.

Thanks for reading. Your comments are welcome. 

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Guest Sunday, 19 November 2017