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Tweens a great force in retail market - expert
Tweens a great force in retail market - expert

Tweens a great force in retail market - expert


Fin24 - Oct 2nd 2015, 09:43

Durban – Do not underestimate the power of the so-called tween market in the SA retail industry, Alex Harris, head of SODA Bloc - a new local tween focused brand - cautioned on Thursday. 

Tweens are usually regarded as youngsters between 10 and 15 years old. The focus of SODA Bloc is roughly on young people between grades four and seven.

It is exactly this gap in the SA retail market that SODA Bloc is filling after 18 months of research among local tweens, he said at the 19th congress of the SA Council of Shopping Centres taking place in Durban this week.

“We found a strong local children’s clothing retail sector in SA, as well as strong sectors for women and men’s clothing, but saw a gap for tweens. And instead of bringing in an international brand, we decided to develop a local one,” he said.

“Tweens don’t want to dress like their younger siblings and they want to start having a voice in what they wear. At the same time, they are old enough to have a say, but their parents still pay for what they buy.”

That is why there really are two types of customers one deals with in the tween market, namely the tween and the tween’s parent. Tweens mostly shop with their mothers, secondly mostly with their friends and thirdly mostly on their own.

The research also showed that shopping centres are still seen as safe havens where tweens can spend time.

The school environment plays an important role in the tween’s life and peer pressures are extremely strong. At the same time, tween consumers want to be kept engaged and occupied.

“Tweens are digital natives. Technology is part of their lives. For them it is all about staying relevant,” said Harris.

Just how much power a tween has in the retail decision-making process became clear in research done in the local market among youngsters between 10 and 12 years old.

About 76% decide which mall to visit. This decision is usually based not on proximity but on where their friends think the cool place is to hang out. About 86% decide which clothes they wear, with peer pressure again playing a big role, and 77% decide from which clothing stores to buy.

“Tweens do not want to wait for desired items of clothing. If it is the in thing, they want it now. It is about instant gratification in order to be cool at school,” explained Harris.

“They like casual leisure wear and price pointing is paramount, but mostly for tweens one must make sure a brand is cool, hip, and fun.”

* Carin Smith is a guest of the SACSC at its congress. From 

Read more about: south africa | shopping malls | sacsc | durban

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