Parents of pre-schoolers spend an average of around £117 per month on daughters compared to just £101 on boys, according to new data from the Childwise Monitor Pre-school Report 2016.
“Our new survey of more than a thousand 0 to four year olds shows that parents are likely to spend noticeably more on their daughters in all but two of the nine categories,” said Childwise research manager, Jenny Ehren.
“This raises questions about whether pre-school parents might be reinforcing gender divisions with their spending behaviour.”
The Pre-school report also reveals branded toys growing in popularity as children get older. Pretend play items were mentioned by a number of parents, with traditional gender stereotypes appearing particularly prominent here, with toy kitchens, tea sets, shopping trolleys and tills favoured by girls, and toy gardening sets and DIY kits favoured by boys.
“The pre-school market is unique, with spending mainly in the hands of parents, but a growing sense of children’s own preferences and interests,” said Ehren.
“Future brand loyalties and behaviour patterns first take shape at this age. A great deal of how children initially learn about the world is rooted in play – they pick up gender clues all around them, some subtle, and some not so subtle. The challenge for parents is to avoid inadvertently perpetuating these gender divisions themselves.”