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Latest Kids Insights high street intelligence reveals the most popular stores and restaurants among the UK’s children, tweens and teenagers

Market research firm Kids Insights, who conduct the UK’s most comprehensive, reliable and regular surveys into the attitudes and preferences of children, tweens and teenagers, have published their latest research into under-18s’ attitudes towards the high street and town centre shopping.

The research, which asks 20,000 under-18s each year about which their favourite shops and restaurants are, reveals that over the last 12 months New Look has halved in popularity among children, dropping from 14.4% to 7.2%.

Other retailers traditionally popular with teenage girls (13-18) also saw a decline in the last quarter of 2018, with Topshop dropping from 7.2% to 5.8% and H&M declining from 5.2% to 2.7%.

In contrast Primark rose in popularity over 2018, taking the top spot among 13-18 year old girls in quarter four with 18.2% (up over 5% year on year).

Among younger girls (4-12) toy store Smyths has rapidly grown in popularity, rising from 3.1% at the end of 2017 to 9.4% at the end of 2018. This makes Smyths the most popular high street store within this demographic.

Another toy retailer, The Entertainer, also saw a sharp rise in popularity among 4-12 year old girls last year, growing from 0.2% to 4.1% over 2018.

Top Five Favourite Shops (4-12 Year Old Girls) October-December 2018*

  • Smyths – 9.4%
  • Primark – 7.1%
  • Claire’s Accessories – 4.5%
  • Tesco – 4.5%
  • Poundland – 4.1%

Top Five Favourite Shops (13-18 Year Old Girls) October-December 2018*

  • Primark – 18.2%
  • New Look – 7.2%
  • Topshop – 5.8%
  • Tesco – 4.7%
  • Superdrug – 3.7%

For boys aged 4-12 toys and video game stores ranked highest in the last quarter of 2018 (Smyths top with 9.8% followed by GAME with 5.7%), while 13-18 year old boys cited GAME as their favourite high street store (12.7%).

In the battle of the sports retailers, JD Sports continues to be most popular among teenage boys (8.3%), ranking twice as high as Sports Direct (3.4%).

Supermarkets are also featured in the top five stores for teenage boys with Tesco in second place (10.3%), and Asda in fifth (2.4%).

Top Five Favourite Shops (4-12 Year Old Boys) October-December 2018*

  • Smyths – 9.8%
  • GAME – 5.7%
  • Tesco -5.2%
  • Poundland – 3.9%
  • Primark – 3.9%

Top Five Favourite Shops (13-18 Year Old Boys) October-December 2018*

  • GAME – 12.7%
  • Tesco – 10.3%
  • JD Sports – 8.3%
  • Sports Direct – 3.4%
  • Asda – 2.4%

Which Restaurants Are Flavour Of The Month?  

Kids Insights also asked both boys and girls about favourite high street restaurants over the last quarter of 2018.

Within the 4-12 year old bracket, MacDonald’s remained top (36%) but this represents a 6% drop since the start of 2018.

For 13-18 year olds children, MacDonald’s is also still the number one choice – but at 18% it is half as popular with teenagers as it is with younger children.

Pizza was found to be the category showing most growth among children, with Dominos rising in popularity among 4-12 year olds from 14th place at the start of 2018 to 9th most popular at the end of the year.

Top Five Favourite Restaurants (4-12 Year Olds) October-December 2018*

  • McDonalds – 30%
  • KFC – 7%
  • Pizza Hut – 7%
  • Nando’s – 5%
  • Pizza – 4%

Top Five Favourite Restaurants (13-18 Year Olds) October-December 2018*

  • McDonalds – 18%
  • KFC – 9%
  • Nando’s – 8%
  • Pizza Hut – 5%
  • Frankie & Benny’s– 4%

Kids Insights analyst Jenny Kieras said of the figures: “Fast fashion still rules the high street as far as teenage girls are concerned, but New Look and others lost out to Primark in the run up to Christmas.

“However, for younger girls and boys, toy store Smyths topped the last quarter of 2018, while teenage boys showed a strong preference for supermarkets as well as shops like GAME.

“Teenage boys also enjoyed shopping in sports stores in this period, and here we saw JD coming out ahead of Sports Direct by some distance.

“But what retailers need to understand is that while children, tweens and teens do still enjoy frequenting the high street, our data reveals that they are increasingly being driven by the social aspect of the experience rather than the act of shopping itself.

“In terms of children simply buying goods, Amazon and Ebay are rapidly becoming more popular than bricks and mortar shops. This, combined with growing financial independence among many under-18s, means retailers need to do more than just add extra layers of cosmetic ‘theatre’ to keep kids interested.

“Instead they should be looking at more genuinely interactive activities which engage with children, making high street shopping less explicitly transactional and far more immersive.”    

 To download a complimentary Kids Insights report click below:


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