NEW DELHI: Indian children have become so involved in the household decision-making process that Indian marketers beyond the usual kids' categories are having to consider them.

A number of social and economic factors have contributed to this shift including, especially in urban areas, the rise of dual-income families. Shubhranshu Das, executive director Ipsos Advertising Research India, dubbed it "new age parenting" where children have to manage parts of their day on their own.

"It is bringing them into the purchase process more directly than before," he told the Economic Times.

Marketing consultant Harish Bijoor suggested that parents had a "down-ageing syndrome" while children had an opposite "over-ageing syndrome". These two led to purchase decision making behaviour that was often skewed towards the child.

As a result, categories traditionally targeted at adults, including financial services, automobiles and paints, are reassessing all aspects of their marketing strategies, from tone of voice to media allocation.

Research by Kota Mahindra Bank, for example, found these new age parents worried about how they could teach their spoilt children about the value of money and discipline in handling it, at the same time as many did nothing about financial planning for the future of those same children.

The result was, according to Karthi Marshan, head of  group marketing, the creation of "a souped up financial product for children, one that educates them about money, one that makes their parents' job of saving for their education etc. simple, and one that rewards the mother-child partnership via meaningful offers targeted at the kids."

The influence of children on the purchase of items like consumer electronics is also leading to the showing of non-traditional advertising on children's television according to Juhi Ravindranath, vice president, ad sales, South Asia, Turner International India. Co-viewing by both children and parents is another factor in this development.

The trend reaches its apogee in the appearance of edutainment theme parks such as Kidzania, a branch of which opened recently in Mumbai and is designed like a scaled-down city, complete with services, media, retail and restaurants all of which offer opportunities for brands.

Birla Sun Life Insurance, for example, runs the employment centre in Kidzania, identifying skill sets. "Getting into the consideration set of the parent, through the child is a good strategy in a financial services category," said Birla's chief marketing officer Ajay Kakar. "In fact, it is often the best way to a parent's wallet."

Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff