Children can be insightful when it comes to market research. Unlike adults, children are less likely to censor their opinions, offering their unique perspectives. For brands, children are an essential target audience because they can influence purchases made by their parents. When conducting market research, it is crucial to consider that children are still developing and need to be treated differently than adults.

Here are the top things to keep in mind when conducting market research with children:

Permission & Recruitment 

Start by getting prior written consent from the adult (legal guardian) and then giving the child the opportunity to opt-in to the research. A screener should be developed with a set of questions directed at the adult, and then the child needs to be provided information about the research topic and method being used. If the research is being conducted in school, permission can be sought from the teacher; however, it is best practice to inform the legal guardian.

Decision Point recruiters are given special training while screening children so that it is more like a conversation rather than a formal structure of going through Q&A from the questionnaire.

Establish Rules 

To achieve the best possible results, ensure that the children understand what is required from them. Clearly explain the process and let them ask questions. The more children understand what is going on, the more they will contribute to the market research.

Engagement 

Children have a much shorter attention span than adults, which is important to keep in mind when designing the research study elements.

  • Questionnaire Structure: How you set up your questionnaire will impact the level of engagement. For quantitative research, you want to gamify the questions so children can engage with the topic.
  • Activities: With qualitative research, too much time should not be spent in deep discussion. Children should be engaged through creative activities to get them involved with the topic of the research.

Content

Managing content is one of the key elements when conducting market research with children. You have to make sure that the stimulus you are showing and questions you are asking are appropriate for children at their present developmental stage.

For online focus groups, the Decision Point team focuses the sessions on showing visual contents like video, pictures etc. This is done, so children are comfortable offering their opinion rather than just being part of a group discussion.

Groups 

Since group dynamics are different with children, it is important to consider how you communicate with them. Ensure that your subgroups are narrow enough to represent the audience relative to the subject matter. Children tend to change their favourites, ideas, and attitudes quickly, so it is important to keep your age ranges tight.

Surroundings 

To get the most of the research, children need to feel comfortable and relaxed in their surroundings. Make the sessions as informal as possible and avoid any formal settings or large groups. Use an ice breaker to get the children to know each other and the moderator better before starting the study.

When conducting in-person focus groups with children at the Decision Point facility, we change the room to look more casual with comfortable seating and colourful décor (unlike the formal board room setting) to feel at ease and express ideas in a relaxed environment. The choice of refreshments offered will also be different for groups with kids. For parents accompanying young kids to the facility, special waiting area arrangements are made available should they decide to stay at the facility during the session.

To get a better insight on how we carry out market research with children, read our case study on conducting focus groups with high school students in Alberta.

Contact us today to set up your market research with children through face-to-face or online focus groups.

Anton Nicolaides