ABSTRACT 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. 1. 0 INTRODUCTION 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 children also have a major impact on decision stage and the product category. The role that children play in family decision- making has directed the researchers to study the influence of children. Several researchers have also demonstrated how children have been “socialised to act as consumers” (Kaur and Singh, 2006). 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.
Since Nigerian society vastly differs from the west in terms of family composition, family type and structure, norms, values, and behaviour, it is important to understand children’s influence in the purchase decision making in families in the Nigerian context. The buying power of children in Nigeria will be different compared to the western countries, but still they play the key role in Nigerian families. Children influence family as well as individual purchase decisions. For this reason, detailed study will be done on children’s influence in family purchase decision in Nigeria. . 3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS 1. Does parent-child communication affect the way a child contributes in family decision making process? 2. What strategies do children use in influencing family product purchase? 3. At what decision making process stage do children have more influence in the family? 4. How do parents respond to children’s attempt to influence decisions on products for family consumption? 5. How frequently do children attempt to influence purchasing decisions on products for family consumption? 4. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The primary objective of this study is to examine the roles performed by children in family purchase decisions with regard to children and family related products and to explore children’s influence in family decision making process in the Nigerian context. However, the specific objectives are: to understand the family communication structure and its influence on a child as a consumer; to examine the decision making process and the stage children have the most influence; and to examine parents’ perception of the role children play in family purchase decision-making. . 5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY This study will focus on children’s influence on decision making process in the family as it relates to the purchase of products to be used by the family, family communication structure and patterns and parents perception of children’s influence in family purchase decision making. 1. 6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY Family is the basic unit where most individuals learn about product categories and how to consume it. So, understanding family buying behavior is very important.
It used to be that husband and wife hold dominant influence in family decision-making process. However, now, their role is changing. Today, children’s role in family decision-making process is also significant. As children are an integral part of the marketplace, this study would help manufacturers of family products, marketers and advertisers to understand the place of a child in the family. Their influence relates to a wide variety of products needed by their family and not just to the items that directly relate to their need.
This means that, to market successfully to the family, advertisers must understand children’s role in the decision making process in the family. The result of this research will aid advertisers to better position products to win the hearts of children who will eventually influence their parents buying decision. 2. 0 LITERATURE REVIEW This section is to review what past studies has found on the influence children have on purchase decision in the family. 2. 1 FAMILY DECISION MAKING The family is a major influence in the consumer behavior process.
As the basic group, which an individual belongs, the family provides early childhood learning about products and product categories, provides the opportunity for product exposure and repetition, and sets the consumption unit, the family members. As a major consumption unit the family is a prime target for most products and product categories (Schiffman & Kanuk, 1983). Loudon & Della (1993) as cited by Ekasasi (2005) define the family as a group of two or more persons related by blood, marriage, or adoption and residing together as a household.
A number of different types of family exist. The nuclear family consists of a husband, a wife, and their offspring. The extended family consists of the nuclear family plus other relatives, such as parents of the husband or wife. There is also the detached nuclear family structure which has characteristics as follows: free choice of mates, higher levels of divorce, increased residential mobility, entry of large numbers of women into the labour force, and lower responsibility of children to care for their parents in their old age (Mowen, 1995 in Ekasasi, 2005).
During the course of everyday living, thousands of decisions are made by family members. The husband and wife are clearly the dominant influences in family decision-making. Most studies have focused on their role in decision-making and the dominance on their role in decision-making and the dominance of one or the other. The relative influence of the husband and the wife is likely to vary according to the type of product considered, the stage in decision making, the nature of purchase influence, and family characteristics (Assael 1992).
In the process of family decision-making, there are three stages: initiation, make choice and final decision. Initiation is the process whereby a family member proposes a suggestion and ideas. Making choice is the second stage. Family members search and compare different alternatives. The final stage is the buying decision process. The child has been regarded as an initiator in family decision-making. When a particular product has been chosen as a candidate in the second stage, the product has greater chance to be sold. 2. 2 CHILDREN’S INFLUENCE IN FAMILY DECISION MAKING
Family decision- making research was initially directed to spouses, however the role of children on decision making and negotiation strategies had become an important issue of study (Kaur and Singh, 2006). Children not only enjoy making regular consumption decisions with their parents but they also insist their parents to buy the products they desire. The family as a purchasing unit is a central phenomenon in consumer behavior. Researchers have studied how a family makes a purchase decision for many years but most of the ‘families’ studied only comprised the husband and wife (Davis, 1976 in Kaur and Singh, 2006).
However, family decisions are influenced by every member of the family, which means how a family makes decisions will not be well examined unless every member’s influence is taken into account; children inclusive. Children’s influence in family purchase decisions and the spending power of children have increased over the last 40 years (Shoham and Dalakas, 2005). After Berey and Polly (1968) as cited by Kaur & Singh (2006) detected child’s influence in family decision making, there was an increasing recognition of children’s important role with the increasing influence of children in family decision making.
Usually, children influence parental purchases in the shopping environment, at home, in the car, at the movies, during television viewing, on vacation, at mealtime, even in church. The influence that children have on parental purchases is extensive and principally embraces the following areas (McNeal 1999): 1. Items for the children, including snacks, toys, consumer electronics, clothing, and hobbies equipment and supplies. 2. Items for the home, including furnishings, television sets, stereo systems, and foods and beverages for meals. 3.
Non-household items for family members, including vacations, automobiles, clothing, restaurant meals, and recreation. In addition to these three groups, there are others that are more difficult to classify. They include family gifts to the children’s grandparents and family donations to charities. Also, children often influence the parent’s choice of stores and shopping centers. According to Ramzy, T. Ogden, R. Ogden and Zakaria (2012) children’s purchasing power can be direct, money controlled by the child, or indirect, relating to parental purchases that the child initiates or influences.
Children influence family buying decisions in four different ways. First, children influence their parents to buy products for their individual preferences. Second, older children have their own pocket money and buy the products directly. Third, children influence their parents’ choice for family products for shared consumption. Lastly, children influence their parents’ own preferences. Children exert a certain influence on the overall decision process (Wut and Chou 2009). Geuens, Mast and Pelsmacker (2002) discovered that children can have active or passive influence on purchase decision.
Active influence means that the child wants to influence purchase decisions in a direct way by recommending, hinting and/or asking for things (McNeal, 1999). Passive dictation, on the other hand, means that parents are influenced by what they experience their children prefer or need (Wells, 1965). A mother experiencing that her toddler enjoys a specific meal will be more increased to buy or cook this particular food again (Mehrotra and Torges, 1977 as cited by Wut and Chou, 2009).
Passive influence is mostly unconscious and as a consequence difficult to observe and measure. Various researchers have revealed that a number of factors play a substantial role on children’s influence on parents buying decisions across different product categories. Berey & Pollay (1968, as cited by Kaur & Singh 2006) studied mother-child dyads in purchase of break- fast cereals and found that in most of the products parents are intermediary purchasing agents for children.
In such situations children’s influence on parent’s purchase decisions is governed by two factors as children’s assertiveness and parent’s child centeredness. The study showed that more assertive the child or more children cantered the mother is, more probable the mother will buy the child desired brands. The research also revealed that mother’s act as gatekeepers and bought products that weighed high in nutrition. In general children exert more influence on products for which they are primary consumers (Lee and Beauty 2002).
In recent years, family structures have changed considerably. We have single parents, two parents with one source of income, dual income families and higher divorce rates. Geuens, Mast and Pelsmacker (2002) examined the impact of new family structures (single versus one parent, two versus one income, high versus low working hours, small versus large size) on children’s influence on family purchase decision-making. The increase of children’s influence on parents buying decisions in most of the developed countries can be attributed to various reasons.
First; increase in number of working couple resulting in to cash rich and time poor society and hence increasing the influence of children on parents; second, the shift in the family setup from joint families to nuclear families, allowing the influence of children on parents buying decisions; third, lesser number of children per family, resulting in increase in the buying power of each; fourth, the repeated exposure to media resulting in socialization of children which in turn result in to children influence on parents buying decisions etc. Wimalasiry (2004).
Williams and Burns (2000) explained that changing social trends such as working mothers, decreased and delayed childbearing, increased divorce rates, and rapid maturation have given way to a formidable market force for children. They developed a scale based on social power theory to measure children’s direct influence attempts. The seven dimensions derived to represent direct influence attempt were ask nicely, bargain, show affection, just ask, beg and plead, show anger, and con. In this study, these dimensions will be utilized to measure the direct influence of children. . 3 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK Two theories are proposed to guide this study. They are the typology of family communication patterns and social power theory. 2. 3. 1 TYPOLOGY OF FAMILY COMMUNICATION PATTERNS The typology of parent-child communication structures and patterns was developed by McLeod and Chaffee (1972) and this typology utilizes Newcomb’s (1953) co-orientation model. Together, the two dimensions of family communication structure yielded a four-fold typology of family communication patterns: laissez-faire, protective, pluralistic, and consensual.
McLeod and Chaffee (1972) identified two dimensions of parent-child communications dimensions. These dimensions are the degree of social orientation and degree of concept orientation. Social Orientation: The communications in families with a high social orientation are designed to produce obedience from the child and foster family harmony. Concept Orientation: The communications in families with a high concept orientation are designed to encourage openness and foster an independent outlook. Laissez-faire families emphasize neither of the two dimensions and there is little communication between parents and children.
Protective families emphasize the socio-orientation dimension, stressing obedience and social harmony, and are not concerned with conceptual matters. Conversely, Pluralistic families tend to stress the concept-orientation dimension, with an emphasis being placed on mutuality of respects and interest. Children are encouraged to explore new ideas and to express them openly without fear of reprisal. Finally, consensual families stress both the socio- and concept orientation dimensions, and children are encouraged to explore the world about them but to do so without disrupting the family’s established internal social harmony.
A parent with a high socio-orientation believes that children should respect him/her, should suppress opinions on areas not pertaining to them, that children should avoid disagreements with parents and be obedient (Moschis & Moore 1978). Parents with this type of communication orientation tend to control their child’s consumption-related learning (Moschis & Moore 1979). A high concept-orientation means that parents encourage children to evaluate different alternatives when making decisions. Children in this orientation are allowed to discuss disagreements with parents and to develop their own consumer skills.
They are also asked by their parents about purchase decisions even if the product is not directly for the child. According to Moschis and Mitchell (1986), children from families with a high social orientation are less likely to be involved in family decisions and less likely to make consumption-related decisions for themselves. Conversely, children from families with a high concept orientation are likely to have higher product knowledge, better able to manage a family budget and have a higher regard for their parents’ opinions. 2. 3. 2 SOCIAL POWER THEORY
Social power theory examines power bases in social interactions. The concept of social power was initially introduced by Lewin (1951) and later developed theoretically by French and Raven (1959). Social power theory is an appropriate theoretical framework from which to study children’s direct influence attempts for several reasons. First, social power theory identifies the bases of power which are present in social interactions. These sources of power may include expertise, reward power, referent power, legitimate power, and coercion.
These five bases are considered by French and Raven (1959) to be the most important resources utilized by a person, but not an all-inclusive list of potential resources. Further, social power theory suggests that a person will make an assessment of his or her resources and choose an influence attempt that is consistent with his or her sources of social power. In addition, the theory suggests that these power bases may be utilized in two ways: active (i. e. , direct) or passive (i. e. , indirect). When the utilization of power to influence is active, or the result of an intentional act, a direct influence attempt is exerted.
In relation to influence and power evidence exists that children exert varying degrees of influence on the family decision-making process. This influence varies by product, decision stage, child, parental and family characteristics but are not properly researched. Social power theory is useful in explaining differences in children’s influence on purchases and distinguishes between influence derived from active and passive power, compatible with direct and indirect influence. Power bases pertinent to exercising influence include: expert (e. g. children possess detailed knowledge about toys, games etc. ; legitimate (e. g. children and products they consume including food, toys and clothing); referent (identifying with peers); reward (children exhibiting good behaviour) and coercive power (e. g. children threatening negative or bothersome behaviour, complaining or even pestering) (Flurry and Burns, 2005). Furthermore, social power theory further suggests the five power bases may be utilised in two ways: actively and passively. Power used to influence is an active and intentional action; passive, when the mere presence of power is influential.
Both contribute to a person’s potential to direct a preferential outcome. 3. 0 METHODOLOGY This section comprises of the research design, population, sample size, sampling technique, research instrument to be employed, method of data collection and analysis to be employed. 3. 1 RESEARCH DESIGN This study will employ descriptive survey because the role children play in influencing family purchase decision will be described. It will also be a cross-sectional study as children’s influence will be examined from the children as well as the parents’ point of view.
Since the research aims at understanding children’s influence in family purchase decision, the views of the children will be essential for this study and to get a balanced view, the views of the parents will also be important, especially mothers. This study will employ questionnaire and in-depth interview as methods of collecting primary data. 3. 2 POPULATION The study will be located in Ibadan metropolis in Oyo State, South West Nigeria. Ibadan is majorly populated by the Yoruba people, but its population has always been ethnically mixed and is becoming increasingly so.
Ibadan houses one of Africa’s premier universities, the University of Ibadan, which lends its economy a significant intellectual, professional and artistic profile. There are 11 Local Governments in Ibadan metropolitan area consisting of 5 urban local governments in the city and 6 semi-urban local governments. This study will be limited to one urban and one semi-urban local government which are Ibadan North-West and Ido local government respectively. One government-owned secondary school; one private secondary school will be randomly selected from the list of Secondary Schools in the two local government areas for this study. . 3 SAMPLE SIZE AND SAMPLING TECHNIQUE A multi – stage sampling procedure will be used for this study. At first six schools will be randomly selected from a list of public and private secondary schools in Ibadan North West as well as in Ido Local Government Areas of Oyo State respectively. Then, the balloting system will be used to choose one school for the public secondary school and for the private secondary school in the two local government areas respectively. Going by the assumption that 25 pupils are meant to be in a class, a class of J. S. S 1, 2 and 3 students of a school will be the respondents for this study.
This will be 75 respondents per school, making the number of respondents to be 150 altogether. The J. S. S 1, 2 and J. S. S 3 students will be used because they fall within the age range that this study would be focusing on, which is between the ages of 8 and 13 and also because they should be more matured than those in the primary school that also falls within this age range.. 3. 4 RESEARCH INSTRUMENT Questionnaire and in-depth interview will be used for this study. The questionnaire will be in two sections; the first section will be addressed to the children while the second section will be filled by the parents, specifically mothers.
This section is specifically to ask the mother to indicate demographic characteristics of the child; including his/her birthday and sex of the child and to find out how they perceive the role their children play in family purchase decision. This information will be used to match the parent’s responses to responses given by the child. The questionnaire will be given to respondents to take home to their parents. The interview will be for the teachers of the respective schools to be used to ascertain the schools’ demography. 3. 5 METHOD OF DATA COLLECTION This will involve qualitative method.
The headteachers or class teachers of these four schools will be requested to distribute the questionnaires to a class of J. S. S 1, 2 and J. S. S 3 students at the schools. 3. 6 METHOD OF DATA ANALYSIS The method of data analysis will involve quantitative and qualitative methods. For quantitative method, univariate and bivariate tabulation methods will be used for the analysis. REFERENCES Ali A. and Batra D. K. (2011) Children influence on parents buying decisions in Delhi (India) European Journal of Business and Management (Online) Vol. 3 (11), 19-28 Davis, H. L. 1976), Decision making within the household, Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 2, March, 241-60. Ekasasi S. R. (2005) The Role of Children in Family Decision Making: A Theoretical Review, Edisi Khusus Jsb on Marketing, Volume 3, 25 – 41 Foxman E and Patriya S. T. (1989) Adolescents and Mothers Perceptions of Relative Influence in Family Decisions: Patterns of Agreement and Disagreement Advances in Consumer Research, 449-453. Geuens M. , Mast G. and Pelsmacker P. (2002) Children’s Influence on Family Purchase Behavior: The Role of Family Structure, Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 5, 130-135
Hall J, Shaw M, Johnson M. and Oppenheim P. (1995) Influence of Children on Family Consumer Decision-Making, European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 2, 45-53 Kaur, P and Singh, R (2006) „Children In Family Purchase Decision Making In India and the West: A Review. Academy of Marketing Science Review Vol. 2006 (8), 1-30 Lee, C. K. C. and Beatty, S. E (2002) Family Structure and Influence in Family Decision Making Journal of Consumer Marketing Vol. 19 (1), 4-41 McNeal, J. ; Ji, M. (1999) Chinese children as consumers: an analysis of their new product information sources Journal of Consumer Marketing Vol. 6(4), 345-364 Mikkelsen M. R. and Norgaard M. K (2012) Children’s Influence on Family Decision-Making in Food Buying and Consumption International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research Vol. 2 (5), 1-23 Moschis G. P, Prahasto A. E and Mitchell L. G (1986) Family Communication Influences on the Development of Consumer Behavior: Some Additional Findings Advances in Consumer Research Volume 13, 365-369 Moschis G. P and Mitchell L. G (1986) Television Advertising and Interpersonal Influences on Teenagers’ Participation in Family Consumer Decisions Advances in Consumer Research Volume 13, 181-186
Nash C. (2009) The Parent Child Purchase Relationship Academy of Marketing Science Review Volume 8, 1-30 North E. J. and Kotze T. (2001) Parents and television advertisements as consumer socialisation agents for adolescents: An exploratory study Journal of Family Ecology and Consumer Sciences, Vol. 29, 92-99 Ramzy O. , Ogden D. T. , Ogden J. R. and Zakaria M. Y. (2012) Perceptions of Children’s Influence on Purchase Decisions – Empirical Investigation for the U. S. and Egyptian Families World Journal of Management Vol. 4 (1) March, 30 – 50 Ward, S. and Wackman, D.
B (1972) Children’s Purchase Influence Attempts and Parental Influence Attempts and Parental Yielding, Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 9, 316-319. Williams L. A. and Burns A. C. (2000) Exploring the Dimensionality of Children’s Direct Influence Attempts Advances in Consumer Research Volume 27, 64-71 Wut T. M. and Chou T. J. (2009) Children’s influences on family decision making in Hong Kong Young Consumers Vol. 10 (2), 146-156 Wut T. M. and Chou T. J. (2009) Family Communication Patterns and Children’s influence on Family Decision Making ANZMAC, 1-7
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