Childwise's Jenny Ehren on parents' pre-school shopping habits

Childwise research manager Jenny Ehren reveals the results of the firm's latest pre-school report, which saw most parents claim they prefer to shop online when buying gifts for little ones.
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‘Mummy, can I have that? Please.’

This is the predictable cry of children everywhere when faced with a toy shop window or an eye catching TV advert. The cry that even a two year old can perfect, as they nurture a growing sense of their own preferences and interests.

But the answer is no. Unless of course, it’s Christmas, their birthday, they’ve done something good or you need to bribe them.

Research has shown that the average child costs their parents £460 a year by nagging them for goodies. One way to avoid the stress of pester power is to shop online, and with our buying habits becoming increasingly shaped by technology, it comes as no great shock that we, as parents, are leading an online revolution in UK retail.

Research from the latest CHILDWISE Pre-school Report reveals that the majority of parents would prefer to shop online, or at least order online and collect in store, when buying toys and gifts for their pre-schoolers.

Online retailer Amazon features as the single most popular shopping destination for toys and gifts for under-fives. And while the major supermarkets do account for more young children’s gift and toy purchasing, more than a quarter of parents prefer to shop online for toys from Tesco, Asda, and Sainsbury’s.

Argos is the second most common destination for kid’s toys. Parents prefer the in-store experience, but a quarter currently choose to shop at Argos online.

Our report shows that whilst parents are most likely to be consulted about gift buying, in fact two out of five pre-schoolers choose most of their own toys, with boys choosing top brands including Spider- Man and LEGO, and girls choosing Frozen, Peppa Pig and Barbie.

And how much do parents spend on toys and gifts for their under fives? We discovered most parents expect to spend around £100 on their child for their birthday, and for Christmas presents, a quarter will spend over £150.

Jenny Ehren is a research manager at Childwise. The annual Childwise Pre-School Report talks to more than 1000 parents of 0 to four year olds, asking about their children's media use and parents' spending habits (



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