Ingo Barlovic, a researcher into the children and youth market, gave a presentation at the "Kids Business Brunch" at last month's edition of the GDS, the shoes and accessories trade show in Düsseldorf, explaining to retailers how to attract young customers. He noted that German children aged 6 to 19 have €23.1 billion at their disposal, and spend €4.42 billion of it on fashion, but retailers don’t pay enough attention to this market segment.

What’s more, he said, different age groups have distinctly different characteristics, and cannot be targeted with one-size-fits-all marketing techniques. For kids 3 to 7 years old, they should be looked at as a team with their parents at the point of sale. From 7 to 10, however, children should be treated as serious shoppers of their own merit. Eleven- to 15-year-olds sales clerks need to step back and let the shopper make the choices, for example in consultation with an accompanying friend.

Barlovic stressed the need for clear product information and an age-related approach in the variety and display of goods sold, as well as consideration for differences in gender, even these early ages.