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All about Cool Guys and Sweet Princesses

ImageChildren’s role in the purchasing process the focal point for the second Kids Business Brunch at GDS. “Reading the youth magazine “Bravo”, watching the Children’s Channel and simply knowing what is going on.“ The second Kids Business Brunch at GDS took an equally entertaining as well as informative approach. Ingo Barlovic, Executive Director of iconkids & youth... research, and licence specialist Stefan Bollert from LIZCO Services GmbH, had a lot of rock-solid advice and research results on offer for the audience of more than 100.

The central question: what role do children play in the purchasing decision process? Do they influence, motivate or even decide it? The two experts quickly agreed: today the specialist shoe trade still underestimates the influence of the young peoples’ target group too often. And in this connection, with the 7 to 15-year-olds target group alone, we are talking of an annual purchasing budget of 2.5 billion Euro for shoes and clothing.

Image“It is the children who have the power and must therefore be taken seriously by the trade“, said children’s and young people's market researcher Barlovic summing up the trend perfectly. Indeed parents mostly set out a framework in which the children can then however usually freely decide. “Children determine the design, as they get older they decide the brand and children have the power particularly when it comes to refusing something.” However, children do not represent a homogenous target group and cannot be classified according to shoe sizes either. Every year or two years children's perceptions and requirements change in terms of their consumer behaviour, children between the ages of five and seven can even be divided into three different target groups. In addition, in some cases girls and boys live in completely different lifestyle worlds. While boys between the ages of eight and twelve see themselves as strong, loud and cheeky, girls regard themselves as fashion-conscious, bitchy and romantic.

“The young customers would like to find these lifestyle worlds represented in the shoe stores”, explained Ingo Barlovic. Stefan Bollert went on to add: “Children only play along with you if you also take them seriously.”

ImageWhile three-year-olds have still not formed any brand preferences and their parents normally decide to buy shoes based on price and quality, for six-year-olds shoes are already becoming a kind of status symbol and they would like to influence the purchasing decision. Nine-year-olds would like to keep up with their friends and are also looking for things in common with them in terms of fashion. Motifs, colours and figures must be absolutely right. 13-year-olds in contrast are searching for their individuality within a fixed framework (sport and lifestyle). Here, idols and symbols are decisive in purchasing decisions. Stefan Bollert also found: “Trends originate in the virtual world of TV, young people's magazines and the Internet. Anyone who pays attention here can arrange and structure their product range accordingly and – coupled with a good sales strategy – therefore increase their stock turnover.” He also said that product presentation was however also assuming decisive significance. “Only those things which really help children in their worlds of requirements and needs are also accepted by them. The products are thus part of the role-play process.”    

At the end the two experts drew a unanimous conclusion: “The chaotic shoe store with mixed-up departments for customers should be a thing of the past.” And, according to Stefan Bollert: “Experience worlds have up to now been a non-starter in the specialist shoe trade. A great deal of potential has been wasted here.” 

The next GDS/GLS will be held from 12 to 14 September 2008 at the Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre. For the first time, with its dates shifted by one day, global shoes & accessories will be held from 11 to 13 September 2008 parallel to GDS/GLS.


You can find all activities connected with GDS/GLS and global shoes & accessories along with numerous features such as GDS TV, exhibitor contact addresses and collection descriptions on the Internet at:


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