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Ioniţă Constantin, Grupa 1708,

Seria A, Marketing



Over the past five decades since Sheth's (1974) seminal work on family buying decisions,
the effect of the family on consumer behaviour has often been overlooked. However, consumer
decision making within the family has begun to receive a growing amount of attention with the
increased realisation of the magnitude of the effect that each individual within the family exert
over the consumer activities of this primary social group.
Decision-making activity involving the purchase of goods and services within a family
appears to be more of an outcome of group decision making than ever before (Burns, 1992).
Such decision-making activity typically involves several family members who play a variety of
roles in the process. Furthermore, evidence is building that children play a much greater role in
the family decision-making process than has been predicted by previous studies.
Children behaved and were treated as consumers well before any effort was made to
systematize knowledge about their commercial behaviour and desires. In the first decades of the
twentieth century, children’s goods comprised small, niche markets made up mainly of books,
toys (which were often displayed seasonally and put away ),furniture and nursery ware and a
growing industry of ready-made clothing for all ages of youth (Kline, 1993).
One variable that moderates children's influence on purchase choice features in family
decision making literature, is product type. Studies by Ekstrom, Tansuhaj and Foxman (1987),
Isler, Popper and Ward (1987), Darley and Lim (1986), Jenkins (1979), Malhotra and Torges
(1977), and Roberts, Wortzel and Berkely (1981), all found evidence to suggest that the
influence of children in family decision making varies according to the type of product involved.
The influence of children on the decision-making activities of the family does not occur
totally exogenously to the family. Indeed, it has been suggested that children learn their
purchasing and consumption habits within the family itself, usually from their parents through
consumer socialization (Carlson and Grossbart, 1988).
Television advertising has an impact on parent-child interaction. The impact can be
positive as well as negative. Action for Children’s Televisions (of the USA) summarized the
negative concerns: In the case of children’s advertising, the purpose is to use the child as a
surrogate salesman to pressure the parents into buying the product. This is unfair to the child and
to the parent, and can be damaging to the parent-child relationship (ACT 1971). Some members
of the marketing community, however, hold a contrary view, claiming that advertising can result
in a positive interaction between the parents and the child by teaching the latter intelligent habits
of purchase and consumption. Parents can create direct opportunities by interacting with their
child about the purchase request, giving him/her allowances and taking him/her on shopping
Ioniţă Constantin, Grupa 1708,
Seria A, Marketing

Whereas young children influence family purchases just “simply asking”( Isrel et al.,
1987), adolescents maz employ various strategies to influence their parents decision making.
Palan and Wilkes (1997) found that , in addition to direct requests, teens also use other influence
strategies like bargaining, persuasion, or emotional strategies.
Previous research has also found that a child’s age is important regarding the child’s
influence on family consumer decision making. As children grow older, their request frequency
decrease (Isler et al.,1987), but mothers yielding to children’s requests increases (Ward and
Wackman, 1972). Yielding increases because parents feel their older children have more
experience with products (Mangleburg , 1990). Also, have been recognized some additional
deterinants of children’s influenceon family decision-making. They include: communication
style among family members and parental style and attitudes (Berkman et al., 1997).
The future market is the market where loyalty to certain products is established through
childhood experience. Children are also consumers in training (Babaogul and Aydıner, 1999).
The effects of children on the family purchasing decisions vary by the product to be purchased
and characteristics of the child and the family.
Parents are subject to their children’s excessive demands for the same type of products,
which may result in conflict. In this case, parents either can be influenced and surrender to their
children’s requests for food they prefer or can try to resolve the conflict by exercising the power
they have over their children (Solomon, 1996). In terms of advertising, children are very
susceptible to advertising, for example McDonalds child menu comes with one of several
cartoon films characters which children are encouraged to collect (Turner et al., 2006). Children
are targeted directly with messages of what products to buy, which will influence them to pester
their parents when shopping (Solomon, 1996).
As future consumers, children’s buying power is increasing. With societal changes such
as those brought on by the substantial shift from mothers working at home to mothers working
outside home, children have to take more responsibility. This includes substantially more
influence when it comes to family’s purchasing decisions. Kids have never wielded the influence
power that they wield today.
Ioniţă Constantin, Grupa 1708,
Seria A, Marketing


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