The wireless market for children between 8 and 12 could double in the next four years, according to Yankee Group research cited by BusinessWeek. This may not be shocking news, but it does raise some interesting competitive questions in the race to capture these "millennial" consumers.
The huge potential, of course, has got the usual suspects salivating--Cingular, Verizon, Vodaphone, Sprint and T-Mobile are all scrambling to create products and packages for kids. But they may face new competition from some players that have a lot more experience targeting this age bracket: toy companies.
And given the faced by major toy companies and chains in recent years, the likes of Disney, Mattel, Hasbro, Japan's Bandai and even Toys 'R' Us might do well to make a big push in this business, at least on the marketing end. Could a Barney-shaped phone be on the horizon?
Blog community response:
"The toy industry is responding to age compression, wherein kids are getting older younger--and is creating a revolution in the toy industry. Realizing that today's kids are sophisticated and tech-savvy, they are fighting fire with fire by building their own lines of 'youth electronics.'"
--Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
"Taste in putting noise-making devices in, over, or even close to one's ears seems to be something that kids grow into; a large chunk of the target market wouldn't let the 'phones near 'em even if their parents otherwise were blockheaded enough to buy it."
"With toy sales in a continued downtrend and 2005 being the fifth straight year of little or no sales growth, the industry leaders look to other trends for advice. The U.S. consumer electronics sales are anticipated to increase to $135.4 billion in 2006."