Nerd is the word | From video gaming to toy collecting, the Insights Family explores the Kidult market

Jurassic Park and Transformers mash-ups, LEGO sets exploring themes of travel, history, science – and iconic worlds of science fiction, of course – and a healthy gaming scene that simply continues to expand and capture new audiences (and that’s just the news this week); the entertainment space is reaching wider audiences and appealing across the generations. Here, The Insights Family’s founder, Nick Richardson explores the topic of the booming Kidult market

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Nostalgia is a powerful tool when marketing products. The emotional pull of recounting past experiences has enabled brands who ordinarily target children to penetrate an older market, expanding their brand presence.

Recently, the kidult trend has accelerated, as adults have reverted to the familiar nature of reliving childhood memories that have provided comfortable experiences in the wake of the pandemic. Some brands have sought partnerships in order to appeal to older audiences for their products which traditionally appeal to younger demographics.

While in our data, the audience for Pokémon in the UK is five to 13-year-olds, the company sought out collaboration with musician Post Malone for its 25th anniversary this year, perhaps aiming to recapture his older teen audience (14 to 18) to celebrate this event. Additionally, the firm’s remake of the Diamond and Pearl editions in the gaming series, originally released in 2006, is a clear attempt to target an older audience of active gamers.

It’s no secret that more adults than ever now play video games. According to our Parents Insights data, gaming is a top five family hobby, as the younger generation of parents who have grown up as gamers themselves carry their hobby into their adult years.

In the UK, LEGO is the most popular toy among kids of every age bracket we survey, but the company is regularly expanding its product offering to target those beyond the initial demographic of kids. This includes creating building sets of flowers and football stadiums, or those themed around travel and history; all aimed at an older audience.

Meanwhile, the popularity of collectables such as Funko Pop! vinyl figures – a top 10 toy for kids aged 11 to 13 in the UK, and a collection of toys that have representation from a range of different IP and brands across different mediums – among adults is indicative of the very real presence of the kidult trend.

Likewise, the effort from Disney to remake and remaster its library of classic animated films for a new generation is also indicative of the older market of fans. The excitement for these films is not only created by the anticipation from kids, but also their parents who want to relive their childhood experiences.

Brands are currently looking to classic brands and IP to guarantee revenue in the fallout of 2020, targeting adults through nostalgic content in the process. Through the success of these films, Disney not only recaptures the imagination of their long-time fans but creates new brand advocates in the younger generation.

In the TV industry, there is also clear evidence of a conscious effort to appeal to this trend. Tracy Beaker returned to screens in February this year in a series designed to appeal to kids and their parents alike. Meanwhile the Biff and Chip reading books, used in schools for more than 30 years, have been made into a TV series, coming to CBeebies.

The growth in popularity of adult cartoons such as Rick and Morty – the favourite show amongst 16 to 18 year olds boys in the UK – is evident that there is a distinct market for mediums traditionally utilised to appeal to younger audiences. Dragon Ball and SpongeBob SquarePants also appear in the top 20 shows among this demographic.

So what, then, does this mean to you?

Well, quite simply, the kidult trend represents an opportunity for brands to expand their revenue streams beyond their kid audiences. By creating collectables that may be aimed at an older demographic, brands can extend their revenue streams while building advocacy with an audience who may pass on their interests to their kids, creating a new generation of fans in the process.

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The Insights Family, is the global leader in kids, parents, and family market intelligence, providing real-time data on their attitudes, behaviour, and consumption patterns. Every year the company survey more than 362,100 kids and more than 176,800 parents.