Young consumers: passion, persistence and pester power

Young consumers: passion, persistence and pester power

Pester power is the influence children have when persuading their parents to buy advertised goods. It tends to be an outdated term that’s usually portrayed negatively in the press. However, we’re proposing pester power is very much still alive and happening not only in children’s early years but all the way through to their teens.

83,500 14 to 17-year-olds* come to The Student Room every month to research their purchases and discuss different products. Speaking with these young people every day, we found they are very much still in control. Although their parents might fund the items they buy, young people are the ones making those final decisions.


Our student spending survey revealed, 88% of respondents said even if someone else paid for the purchases, they make the ultimate decision themselves. Young consumers are not spendthrifts, with 44% planning their purchases in advance, we found they tend to be more considered with their decisions.

When it comes to pester power, YouGov found teenagers use a range of tactics with their parents, these include:

  • 50% of teenagers barter, by promising to do additional chores or getting better grades
  • 14% list pros and cons or write persuasive letters (or PowerPoint presentations) to parents
  • 16% use social sharing sites like Pinterest or Instagram as they make the case for getting what they want

This study highlights how more young people are willing to do their research, make an informed decision and build a case to get what they want. Their careful planning, persistence and persuasive methods demonstrate a clear passion and determination for driving their own consumer behaviour.

Engaging this audience early on presents a vital opportunity for marketers to connect with young consumers and stay with them as they make buying decisions and brand choices that take them through to adult life.


Students continually reach educational milestones in their life, from beginning GCSE’s, taking their first exams then entering A-level and university. With these life-changing steps, we understand parents are willing to help their children with education-related purchases such as stationery, new clothes and books.

According to Nationwide UK’s research, a huge 1.48 billion pounds are spent on ‘back to school’ supplies and we see users on The Student Room looking for peer-to-peer advice and recommendations to help them get kitted out. Check out some of the recent conversations:

“Tesco had amazing back to school deals this summer if you want to check it out.”

“What would you guys recommend as an ideal starter pack for someone who has no stationery and is about to start A-levels.”

“Entering Y11 (very nervous) and I’m wondering what stationary/ supplies I’ll need. I’m going back to school shopping this week and I need to know what things are the most useful to buy.”

“I am currently wondering what I need for when we go back to school.”

“What supplies do you actually need for your GCSE’s? I’m starting my first year when we go back and I don’t actually know what I’ll actually need!”

Young people visit The Student Room for advice with every decision they have to face. Whether it’s what stationery to get or where to shop for school supplies, TSR is the natural destination to research purchases and make a decision.

Want to find out more about how you can engage this audience? Explore how The Student Room can connect you to thousands in the youth market.

*estimated devices (September 2018)