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The influence of children on parental purchases during supermarket shopping


George Wilson, School of Business and Enterprise, Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh. E-mail:


Children are assuming larger roles in household consumer decisions and have also emerged as independent consumers, thus forming an increasingly powerful market segment. Children can be seen as forming, first, a primary market; second, as influencers on their parents’ decision making; and third, as potential future adult consumers. The second role is the main focus of this paper, centring on supermarket purchases. Using focus groups and in-depth interviews, this study explores the influence of children on supermarket shopping. Participants included parents and children of families in Midlothian, Scotland. The results showed that children have a significant influence on supermarket product purchases. The factors which influence children's product preferences are analysed, and their ability to relay their choices to their parents is considered.