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What a rise in teens financially emancipating themselves from parents means for marketers

There has been a marked rise in the number of teenagers taking responsibility for their own finances, with a 22 per cent year-on-year uplift in kids purchasing things like clothes and music with their own debit cards.

The findings come as part of MediaCom’s Connected Kids report which overall shows that 88 per cent of over 13’s have a bank account (a 10 per cent increase from last year) while almost half (48 per cent) of over 15’s have jobs.

“Over last eight or nine years we’ve watched this age group grow up during the recession,” said Pauline Robson, head of real world insight at MediaCom.

“Seeing their parents worrying about money and what the family spends money on has had a clear impact on them, so it’s not surprising that kids today are more financially aware.”

This has led to what Mediacom has dubbed the ‘responsible generation’, a group of teens that have grown up with greater exposure to news and the economy and become more responsible and savvy with money than previous generations.

However, while this might be positive on one hand there is a trend for younger people to feel worried about money, with some 68 per cent of teens (those aged 17-19) saying that saving money whilst they are young and preparing them for the future is important.

“It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the next generation of young adults will be the most financially responsible we’ve seen in decades,” said Mark Evans, chief marketing officer at Direct Line Group.

For many brands, particularly financial ones, it means a shift in tact in how to engage with this group. According to Mediacom, brands looking to target teens should consider using online influencers, rather than celebrities, to provide peer recommendation to younger audiences. Its research found that YouTube subscription to specific channels has increased from 64 per cent to 72 per cent amongst teens over the past year. 

“Teens don’t want to listen to bank managers in suits," said Robson. "They’re much more likely to listen to someone who they know and trust and who is part of peer group that they value.”

It’s advice Direct Line has already heeded, having recently launched a campaign with vlogger Alfie Deyes to help young drivers improve their driving skills and reduce road deaths in the UK.

"It’s down to financial brands like us to ensure that we’re engaging with these young people today in the right way and at the right time, working with role models that this generation can identify with," added Evans.

Connected Kids: Trends Watch is a nationally representative survey of 1,200 8-19 year olds in the UK. The survey was carried out between 7-21 December 2015. 

Featured by The Drum