The Tween years for children can be some of the most exciting for them and some of the most difficult for their parents. Between the ages of 10-12, kids aren’t quite teenagers, but they aren’t really like younger kids either. They are exploring, finding their own voice, and stepping out into the world.
The number of Tweens in the United States is projected to hit 23 million children by the year 2020.
Interestingly enough, the term “Tween,” which was first mentioned by the author JRR Tolkein, was used to describe the years after one is no longer a teenager and is making somewhat irresponsible decisions for their life. Today a Tween is someone who comes from a highly diverse background, has unique social needs, and is preparing themselves to make a difference in the world in the near future.
The Socioeconomic Background of the Modern Tween
- In the United States, more than half of all Tweens belong to a federally recognized minority group. More than 40% of Tweens have a Hispanic ethnic background in their household.
- 1 out of 3 Tweens spends at least 1 hour each week in the care of someone else because their parents are working.
- Tweens living in a household where at least one parent has a 4 year degree or higher spend more time in the care of others, but also have more personal money to spend on a regular basis.
- Another 33% of Tweens finds themselves in a self-care situation at least one day out of the week.
- In the past 30 days, there is a 10% chance that any given Tween in the US has tried smoking once. 1% of Tweens say that they smoke regularly.
- Nearly 60% of Hispanic and African-American households with Tweens are living at or below the poverty level in the US.
- 1 in 5 Tweens has lived in poverty at least once during their lifetime.
- Tweens living in a household where their parents are married are the least likely to be living in poverty.
- Hispanic Tweens are 3x more likely than Caucasian/White Tweens to be living in poverty. African-American Tweens are 2x more likely to be living in poverty when compared to their Caucasian/White counterparts.
- 24% of Tweens in the US have at least one parent that was foreign-born.
- Half of all Tweens live in an environment where air pollutions standards exceed recommended limits.
- 40% of Tweens test positive for exposure to second-hand smoke.
- 6% of Tweens live in an area where local water resources do not meet current safety standards.
- The percentage of Tweens who live in housing that does not adequately meet their spacial requirements: 40%.
Tweens are emerging as one of the demographics that have the most marketing potential. For the last decade, marketing groups have been exploring how to contact this unique age group in an ethical way. This often means reaching out to parents, exploring unique challenges, and overlapping the traditional age categories in the 2-11 age demographics that were once targeted. As the facts show, there is a lot of spending power that Tweens have today. Knowing this information is an advantage for every business.
The Spending Power of the Modern Tween
- Tweens in the United States are estimated to provide at least $260 billion in direct sales every year.
- More than 75% of the money that Tweens get to spend on their own comes as gifts, either from their parents or from their extended family.
- More than half [58%] of Tweens also receive money from an allowance or chores.
- About 10% of that spending originates from the pockets of the Tweens themselves.
- 82% say that they will spend money on entertainment products, such as video games, music, movies, or books this year.
- 57% of Tweens say that the regularly spend some of their money on food or drinks.
- Just 40% of Tweens say that they will spend some of their money on clothing.
- 1 in 5 Tweens in the US speaks a different language than English. 9% of this group speak a different language than English and have trouble speaking English.
- 74% of Tweens have at least one parent who is employed full-time year-round.
Tweens have money to spend and it is often burning a hole in their pocket. They are impulsive buyers and look to satisfy wants immediately. By communicating to Tweens in a way that reaches them frequently, brands can work to become a top of the mind product in the mind of the modern Tween. The advantage of making this happen is clear: the younger generations today build closer relationships with brands today, identify with them personally, and are more loyal to them than ever before. Add in the billions in spending power, with nearly $1,500 per Tween being spent every year, and there are profits to be found.
The Habits of the Modern Tween
- Tweens are 2x less likely to spend more than 1 hour on the internet per day than their teenage siblings.
- When Tweens are online, 70% of them are spending their internet time playing video games of some sort.
- Websites run by Disney or subsidiary groups of the Walt Disney Corporation are more likely to get Tween visits than social networking sites, video game sites, or even video sharing sites.
- 46% of Tweens will visit a music site at least once per week while they are online.
- 35% of Tweens either own a mobile phone they use or it was given to them as a gift from their parents or an extended relative.
- 1 in 5 Tweens will regularly communicate with their friends via SMS text.
- Humor is the top-rated need Tweens say they have when they interact with brands online.
- Many advertisements seen outside of an online experience are often experienced with parents, which requires brands to take a dual marketing approach to their products.
- 21% of Tweens live in a household that has been federally deemed to be “Food Insecure.”
- 9 out of every 1,000 Tweens is a youth offender because of a serious violent crime.
COPPA guidelines when interacting with this demographic are clear. Brands must obtain parental consent before interacting or marketing to Tweens online. Unfortunately not every website takes security measures to make sure they are compliant with these guidelines. This can be a costly mistake, especially considering the spending power that the modern Tween happens to have. When there is a clear value proposition present, then there is a good chance that a brand can market to parents and Tweens simultaneously. The advantage? Getting 2 customers for the price of 1 targeted marketing effort.