Researchers at New Zealand’s University of Otago, noting this marketing, sought to understand the buyer motivation. Female study participants ages 6 to 12 years drew two pictures and then described each picture, one picture of a preteen girl who owned makeup and the other picture and description of a child who did not. The overall conclusion was that preteen cosmetics use is perceived by children as increasing popularity and snobbishness. The study participants believed preteen girls who decide to use cosmetics are happy with that decision.
But what is the effect on the body image of children who see the decorated preteen? Among the youngest observers, there’s probably no harm. For instance, researchers at Ghent University found that children ages 6 to 7 years placed extra trust in ads featuring preteens the children considered to be attractive, but seeing these preteens had no effect on the children’s perceived self-worth or ratings of their own attractiveness.
However, adult females are sensitive to comparative attractiveness. For example, an Arizona State University, University of British Columbia, and University of Alberta study reported that when a woman who is unsure about her appearance tries on a dress and then sees a pretty saleswoman wearing the same dress, the shopper loses interest in buying it. A Stockholm School of Economics study discovered that female shoppers give higher ratings to fashion items on models whose heads aren’t shown at all.
Preteens are between the little kids and the adults, so promoting the sale of cosmetics in your retail store could foster social disadvantage for the preteens who choose—or whose caretakers choose—not to partake.
If you do decide to exploit the preteen purchase motivation for appearance enhancement merchandise, keep in mind two research-based tips when selling to this age group:
- Preteens are more likely than teens to look to adults as role models. This is true even though the preteen may prefer to associate with age peers than with the immediate family. This means that preteens are still listening carefully to the advice of adult salespeople, even if they argue with the advice.
- Preteens usually have a strong sense of right and wrong. They’ll consider as product benefits that the makeup wasn’t tested on animals or produced with child labor.
Click below for more:
Get A Head, Except for Ladies’ Clothing
Prepare for Selling to Preteens
Employ Purchase Triggers for Children