Study: Brands winning the hearts of children in Asia amidst COVID-19

Content creators in Asia Pacific are playing a huge role between children and brand relationships, with 59% of children making purchase requests associated with an influencer. According to the latest 2020 Kids Digital Insights study by digital media company TotallyAwesome, content creators impact 55% of parents purchasing an item because it was associated with a content creator. The study also added that majority of a family's spend in Asia Pacific (98%) is influenced by their children's preferences.

In Singapore (71%), Malaysia (67%) and Indonesia (69%), majority of the 4,480 children surveyed are making purchase requests associated with content creators.

For Singapore and Indonesia in particular, the study found that content creators impact 62% of parents' purchases. Meanwhile, content creators in Malaysia impact 64% of parents' buying decisions.

Despite the impact they have on children, content creators targeting children have also experienced the increasing fragmentation of their audience engagement. Although more than 30% of children in Singapore have TikTok and nearly 50% have Instagram, YouTube remains the dominant platform. Likewise, while nearly 30% of Malaysian children have TikTok and nearly 50% have Instagram, and nearly 41% of Indonesian children have TikTok and 49% have Instagram, the study found that YouTube is still ahead of its competitors.

Meanwhile during COVID-19, snacks (87%) came out as the top category where children have the greatest influence during COVID-19. Books and comics (84%), stationery (83%), movies (79%), game applications (78%) and entertainment choices such as cable TV subscriptions (73%) are also equally influenced by children. When it came to brands leading in online engagement in Asia Pacific, Lay's, Cadbury and Oreo topped the snacks/confectioneries category, while LEGO, Disney and Barbie were ranked the top three in the toys category. Meanwhile, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Milo were the top three for drinks in Asia Pacific.

Top three brands by category leading online engagement in Singapore

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Top three brands Singaporean parents intend to purchase or visit in the next month

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Top three brands by category leading online engagement in Malaysia

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Top three brands Malaysian parents intend to purchase or visit in the next month

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Top three brands by category leading online engagement in Indonesia

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Top three brands Indonesian parents intend to purchase or visit in the next month

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The popularity of these brands among children in Asia Pacific can be attributed to the increase in online engagement. According to the study, online advertising is driving higher engagement, making it easier for children to jump from discovery to purchase. About 62% of Singaporean children looked up a product online while 59% talked about it with their parents after viewing an online ad. Majority of Indonesian children (71%) surveyed also looked up a product online after seeing an ad on the Internet, while 68% of them talked about it with their friends. On the other hand, 66% of Malaysian children either discussed with their friends about a product or asked their parents to buy it, while 65% looked it up online.

With the end of the pandemic no where close to being over, the "zoomification" of social gatherings will continue to embed into the family household and further impact changes in viewing behaviours. Majority of parents and children (86%) are also spending time together online, watching cartoons (72%), movies (71%), videos (65%) and playing games (57%) together ever since COVID-19 struck. According to the study, the use of applications has grown by 85% and co-viewing has also inspired families to find video content to connect. 

Cartoon, Disney, Netflix, Music and Tedx were among the top co-viewing choices in Singapore, while Upin and Ipin, Didi and Friends, Omar and Hana were among the top in Malaysia. In Indonesia, game, cartoon, YouTube Kids, Upin and Ipin and music were among the popular co-viewing choices.

TotallyAwesome's CEO Will Anstee said with online engagement for children below the age of 13 at an all time high due to COVID-19 lockdowns, the study is critical in helping brands reach this complex and highly-targeted consumer group. He said:

Unequivocally, online engagement is the battleground for brands.

"Children's desire interactive, immersive experiences to engage. Brands need to take their passive content and make it active to succeed. Some brands are doing this successfully by activating the kids metaverse but most are not," Anstee said.

Meanwhile, chief strategy officer and country director ANZ, Jeremy Carr, said that 2020 feels like a paradigm shift across the globe and locally, where children are adopting technological advancements and social change at the fastest pace he has seen in the past decade. "With the greatest number of children going online for the first time in their lives, it is more important than ever that we need real transparency and accountability of online service providers for the safety of their users and the mitigation of kids online data privacy breaches," Carr added. The study surveyed 4,480 internet users aged four to 16 across Asia Pacific markets including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

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Photo courtesy: 123RF

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