Plenty of home, food, and beverage products focus almost exclusively on the under-18 market. Items, including yoghurts, cereals, and toys, are all heavily advertised to children, so it’s no surprise that companies want to know what young consumers think about their products and how to make them even better.
However, conducting consumer research with children can be challenging, as they may not have the verbal skills to communicate their thoughts. There are also numerous specialist considerations, such as parental consent, to take into account.
With that in mind, here are our top tips for conducting consumer research with children ethically, efficiently, and accurately.
This is important for all consumer research, but it’s especially crucial when working with children. They may be easily distracted or put off by a formal atmosphere, so try to create a relaxed setting in which they feel comfortable expressing themselves.
Conducting research in their own home is often the best option, as they’ll be more comfortable there, and it will be easier to keep them engaged. If this isn’t possible, consider visiting them in their school or another familiar or unthreatening location.
Regarding the research itself, start with ice-breaker tasks that ease them into the process and make it fun. This could be something as simple as asking them to draw a picture of their favourite product.
You can conduct qualitative market research with children and young people in several ways. Focus groups are undoubtedly one of the most popular choices as they provide a positive and friendly environment for kids to express their opinions and build on each other’s ideas.
In-depth interviews can also be effective, although you may need to adapt your questioning style to suit a younger audience. For example, use closed questions that can be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ rather than open-ended ones that require a long explanation.
Lastly, in-home use tests are probably the best option to observe how children interact with a product in a natural setting. Not only will this provide you with valuable insights, but it will also save you time and money as you won’t need to hire a separate research facility.
Of course, when working with children, obtaining consent from a parent or guardian is essential before starting the research process. This is usually done in the form of a signed letter, consent form, or an email response, although you may also be able to get verbal consent depending on the project.
In some cases, other legal guardians, such as a headteacher, can consent if you’re conducting research in a school setting. That said, it’s always best to let the parents or guardians know first to ensure they’re happy for you to proceed.
When it comes to conducting research with young children, in many cases, the research is only as strong as the moderator. That’s why you’ll need to take your time over who you choose for the job, as they’ll play a pivotal role in ensuring the research is a success.
The ideal candidate will have plenty of experience working with children, as they’ll know how to keep them engaged and get the most out of them. They should also be patient, flexible, and able to quickly develop a rapport with kids.
To keep children engaged and get the most out of your consumer research, you need to think like a child. Put yourself in their shoes and consider what would interest and excite them.
This means making the research fun and engaging while keeping the tasks short and simple. You should also avoid using jargon or long words, as children will likely get confused and lose interest.
By following these tips, you can be sure to conduct consumer research with children that is both fun for them and informative for your brand. If you need any help or advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at Wirral Sensory Services.
We have years of experience conducting consumer research with children of all ages and can tailor our services to suit your specific needs. No matter the requirements of your specific research project, we can provide solutions that give you the insights you need to make informed decisions about your brand.