Children are important in the family, they make a family complete and they influence a number of decisions made in the family. Children have occupied a big segment in the marketplace, there are more products produced and directed at them. The importance of children in purchase decision making has grown over the years. They not only make purchase decisions for personal consumption but they also influence family purchase decision-making (Kaur and Singh, 2006). However, nearly all studies are based in the western context, like US and Europe. There are few studies focused on the African context, especially in Nigeria. As a result of this, it is important to examine how they influence the decision to purchase products for family consumption. The typology of family communication patterns and social power theory will be used for this study.
The study will employ qualitative research using questionnaire to elicit detailed explanation of children’s influence in family purchase decision. Children between the ages 8-13 years are the focus of this research.
Key words: family decision-making, children’s role in family decision making, typology of family communication patterns, social power theory.
Children are important in the family, they make a family complete and they influence a number of decisions made in the family. Today children are not only passive observers but they have taken a considerable place in the families and have a significant influence on parental buying decisions and they have occupied a big segment in the marketplace. Children are consumers in their own right; there are more products produced and directed at them. Because of a growing awareness of the role children play in family decision making on family purchases other than toys and cereals, as well as a realisation that the influence of children in family decision making appears to have grown significantly over the past two decades (Sellers, 1989 as cited by Ekasasi, 2005), increasing attention is being given to children and their role in family decision making (Foxman and Patriya, 1989).
There is no doubt that children establish a significant marketing zone and today they have a more important place in the society than their parents ever had. They are not only consumers but have emotional involvement direct or indirect on parents buying decisions. This trend of increased influence appears to emanate from a number of factors, including the greater affluence enjoyed by many households, higher consumer socialisation of children, product type, and the increasing independence given to children due to dual income families and higher divorce rates.
Several researchers have also demonstrated how children have been “socialised to act as consumers” (Kaur and Singh, 2006). Family (parents and siblings), peers, and media are main socialising agents for children wherein family type, parental style and patterns of communication play important roles. However, most of the studies are based on the western context and there are very few studies focusing on Africa, particularly Nigeria due to which this research will be undertaken. As a result of this, it is important to examine how children influence the decision to purchase products in the family in Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Family as a consuming and decision making unit is a central phenomenon in marketing and consumer behaviour. Earlier, research had only focused on the husband and wife’s role where children’s role was ignored (Commuri and Gentry, 2000 as cited by Kaur and Singh, 2006). The importance of children in purchase decision making has grown over the years. It is seen that children not only influence family purchase decision but they also insist their parents purchase the products they desire (Kaur and Singh, 2006). Children’s influence differs depending on the product category and decision-making stage. Age and gender of the...