Full throttle for Formula One as its kids’ fan engagement outpaces football, says The Insights Family

More children are tuning in to the Formula One brand than ever before, with numbers rising by 2.85 million in key European markets alone, and outpacing the growth rate of fans flocking to football, new research from The Insights Family has revealed.

The global motorsport brand has witnessed a 17 per cent year on year increase, from 17.3 million to 20.1 million, representing a faster growth rate than football, which, according to the company, only grew by six per cent.

Finding from a recent study commissioned by Formula One will now go on to help shape the brand’s approach in engaging with the generation of fans as it continues to build on a digital infrastructure it has created since Liberty Media took over back in 2017.

Working with The Insights Family, F1 ran a combination of qualitative and quantitative research across seven markets with a total sample size of 162,774 kids aged 12-18 with the objective of understanding what the ‘fan of the future’ looks like. Key findings from the research uncovered a varying shift in interests of the younger generation.

These findings include that:

  • Generation Z now has a greater level of interest in esports than traditional sports.
  • Instagram and TikTok are where young people are consuming content now, rather than Twitter and Facebook.
  • Content on the official F1 social media channels was very well received by the group.
  • Having behind the scenes access helps them understand more about the sports participants and their back stories. Those interested in the engineering and innovation of F1 cars are particularly attracted to documentaries too.
  • ‘Drive To Survive’ viewers tended to enjoy it thoroughly and valued the additional insight it gave them.
  • There was strong interest in hearing about the history of F1, including the evolution of the cars and icons of the sport.
  • Interest in engineering and technology was more often spoken about as an entry point than races themselves, with UK 10-18s who aspire to be an engineer being 86% more likely than average to watch F1.

Despite sport in general fiercely competing with music, video games, film and TV, technology, and fashion for the attention of the younger generation, the efforts of F1 to put its own stamp on these areas of modern culture have already reaped rewards.

F1 is currently the second fastest growing sport on social media with a year-on-year growth of 36 per cent, as fans continue to flock to the platforms for race highlights, driver content and behind the scenes clips, with Instagram and TikTok especially crucial for the 15-18 age range. YouTube also continues to be a prominent channel for young fans – an area F1 has already explored, streaming the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix free on the platform in selected markets.

“Whilst there is no surprise that the binging of TV shows is now a huge part of people’s lives, there has never been more demand for sports documentaries, recounting iconic moments or giving insight into the personal lives of sporting heroes,” says The Insights Family. “That notion was evident within these focus groups as they crave behind the scenes access and more information on the lives and back stories of the F1 drivers.

“The popularity of Emmy-nominated docuseries ‘Drive to Survive’ on Netflix is undeniable as the production provides insight from the drivers at the heart of the action through dramatic storytelling. Additionally, the history and engineering of the sport also captured the attention of the participants. As part of the sport’s 70th Anniversary celebrations in 2020, F1 produced ‘Race to Perfection’ with Sky Sports detailing the innovation and pioneering nature of the sport as some of the world’s most powerful vehicles have developed over the last seven decades.”

Globally, 41 per cent of kids aged three to 18 now engage with esports, marking a 22 per cent increase year-on-year according to the report. The firm’s research also indicates that Generation Z now has a greater level of interest in esports than traditional sports, an area F1 is already strong in given the success of the F1 Esports Series events and Virtual Grands Prix, which took place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The likes of Lando Norris, George Russell, and Charles Leclerc were the stars of the show, as the Virtual Grands Prix series achieved over 30m views across TV and digital, and the record-breaking 2020 F1 Esports Pro Series saw a 98 per cent increase on viewership from the previous year,” says The Insights Family.

Research found younger males especially are huge fans of the official F1 video games because it ‘gives them the chance to feel what it is like to be in the cockpit of the car’, as well as see the world’s most iconic race circuits at track level. Esports and gaming has been key for F1 as an entry point to fandom as the younger generation continues to become increasingly embedded in the virtual world.

Interest in engineering and technology was also a common entry point, with many of the participants expressing ‘fascination at the extraordinary innovation on show throughout the sport.’ STEM education has become an important subject for F1, and the brand notes that this ‘will continue through the reaffirmed WeRaceAsOne movement’, which was made earlier this year, as well as the upcoming Aramco F1 in Schools World Finals which took place in June.

The Insights Family data shows that teens who favour STEM subjects at school are 64 per cent more likely to be a fan of F1.

Ellie Norman, director of marketing and communications at Formula 1®, said: “We are always thinking of creative and innovative ways to engage with new audiences and showcasing the sport that hundreds of millions of fans around the world already know and love, so it’s great to see that the work we’re doing to target new and younger audiences is paying dividends.

“Through the use of social and digital platforms, we’ve been able to break down our often complex sport for the next generation of fans, as they begin their own Formula 1® journey.”

Nick Richardson, founder and CEO at The Insights Family, said: “This generation are super-informed and constantly connected. They have access at a very young age to every bit of content they could possibly want. This presents both challenges and opportunities for content creators, brands, and properties.

“The proactive approach of Formula 1®, to invest in research and develop a new generation of fan strategy is very much a best-in-class approach. The results we have seen in our Kids Insights trackers across their key markets speak for itself – it’s working.”

Green age waste ban | The Insights Family explores sustainability in the kids’ market

This article appears in the Spring/Summer edition of ToyNews

With greater purchasing power comes greater social responsibility… or words to that effect. Undeniable though, is the increasing demand and interest in sustainability and eco-consciousness among target audiences. Here, The Insights Family’s founder, Nick Richardson explores the issue

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Figures from the latest Kids Insights data shows that over half of UK kids aged three to 12 have “a lot” of influence over the toy purchases their parents make. In addition to this, UK kids spend a collective £709m of their own money on toys and games in 2020.

However, children’s purchasing power has changed with growing interest in the environment.

Sustainability is becoming a way of life for many consumers as more people are choosing to buy greener, healthier, ethically sourced, and more environmentally sustainable products. Eco-friendly products accelerated their infiltration into toys in recent years and companies – the likes of Hasbro, LEGO, Mattel, MGA, Playmobil and Clementoni included – also understand that a clear and transparent environmental strategy can give them a competitive advantage while staying relevant.

This trend will increasingly affect families’ purchasing habits and toy brands are strongly recommended to emphasise their environment friendly credentials when planning their marketing campaigns.

The increasing penetration of smartphones and tablets among children is stimulating social activism while also driving eco-friendly product purchases. So-called ‘Greta effect’, named after Greta Thunberg following her “how dare you” speech at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit, raised the awareness further.

There is also a large eco-influence coming from parents. According to our Toys & Games Global Report 2020, over a third of UK pre-school parents think that it is important for their children to take care of the environment – a year-on-year increase of 56 per cent. Over a third of parents hope to teach their child to take care of the environment before they have even reached their fifth birthday.

Brands have already started to work on producing eco-friendly toys, or at least use more recyclable packaging. According to our Kids & Family Industry Report 2021, 69 per cent of toy companies believe they can make a difference in the sustainability sector.

As a good example, LEGO is another toy manufacturer which has made substantial progress and commitments to change by 2030. The company introduced reusable plastics for bricks and is said to be considering the idea of a LEGO subscription service. In an effort to improve the brand’s sustainability, a rental service could reduce the fossil fuels required to make LEGO, all while keeping eco-conscious parents happy. LEGO is also making a switch towards paper bags instead of single-use plastics.

Meanwhile, Mattel introduced its own MEGA Biobloks at 2020 Nuremberg Toy Fair with the aim of reaching its 100 per cent recycled materials goal by 2030. Likewise, Clementoni revealed its Baby range made from 100 per cent recycled materials in January 2020 as part of its own sustainability push.

The same with Amazon, the favourite online shop of two million kids aged three to nine in the UK, has revealed plans to roll out 500 electric delivery vans in the UK as part of their Climate Pledge. From manufacturing to distribution, there are opportunities for corporations to make improvements to their sustainability practices to engage sustainable consumers.

What does this mean to you?

Brands need sustainability to be incorporated into long-term business strategies, with public transparency and accountability surrounding these targets, to show their loyalty and awareness.

We believe the brands that will succeed at appealing to the sustainable consumer will be the ones who make it straight-forward and rewarding for customers to change the way they consume, purchase, or behave.

Children’s influence on their parents and brands continues to grow every day. Therefore, understanding what attitudes kids hold in real-time and how this affects their purchasing decisions is a critical advantage for brands.

With the purpose to provide children, parents, and families with a voice to shape their worlds, The Insights Family is highlighting why brands need to pay attention to trends like this and carefully reflect on consumers opinion.

The Insights Family® has released its Kids & Family Industry Report 2021 where we have shown how companies are also responding to societal needs, with 64 per cent reporting their business decisions will be affected by a drive towards sustainability.

To read the Kids & Family Industry Report 2021 and learn more about the attitudes, behaviour, and consumption patterns of kids, parents, and families, and to get freemium access to The Insights Family® real-time data portal, please visit: https://try.theinsightsfamily.com/toynews

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

Mattel and Sanrio to launch new doll range across Amazon and Smyths Toys in the UK

Global toy maker Mattel and the lifestyle brand Sanrio are kicking off their new partnership with the launch of a new toy and accessory collection featuring Hello Kitty, My Melody, and Badtz Maru across Amazon and Smyths Toys in the UK from January 2021.

The never-before-seen collection will tap into the current nostalgia trend and will include a new doll line featuring fun characters of fashion, all accompanied by Hello Kitty and Friends. Fans can expect to find play-sets, surprise elements, collectables, and stationery.

Highlights from the collection will include:

Sanrio Double Dippers: Sanrio Double Dippers collectible sets are filled with sweet surprises. Each set includes one Hello Kitty figure, one removable hat accessory, and one doughnut or cake accessory

Hello Kitty and Friends Éclair Doll: Éclair doll comes dressed in trendy clothes and accessories like glittery high-top sneakers, a vinyl skirt, and bow headpiece to match her bestie, Hello Kitty.

Hello Kitty and Friends Stylie Doll: Stylie doll comes dressed in trendy clothes and accessories like glittery high-top sneakers, a vinyl skirt, and bow headpiece to match her bestie, My Melody.

Hello Kitty and Friends Jazzlyn Doll: For fashion play, Jazzlyn doll comes dressed in trendy clothes and accessories like glittery high-top sneakers, a vinyl skirt, and headpiece to match her bestie, Badtz-Maru.

Hello Kitty and Friends Minis Hamburger Diner Playset: Savor the fun with this Hello Kitty Hamburger compact loaded with fun surprises.

Hello Kitty and Friends Minis Tea Party Playset: Pinkies up for this Hello Kitty Tea Party compact filled with surprises.

Hello Kitty and Friends Minis Beach Pencil Playset: Make a splash with this Hello Kitty Watermelon beach-themed pencil box set that features a playset, storage, and stationery supplies.

Hello Kitty and Friends Minis Carnival Pencil Playset: This Hello Kitty Candy Carnival pencil box set features a playset, storage, and stationery supplies.

Hello Kitty Plush: Made with soft fabrics and at 8-inches tall, she’s the perfect size for take-along play.

Sanrio Surprise Stamper: These Sanrio Surprise Minis collectibles are triple the fun, with eight to collect. Each figure is a self-stamper, pencil-topper, and keychain.

“This collection offers Sanrio fans a whole new way to experience the brand in a fun and entertaining way,” said Jill Koch, SVP of sales and business development at Sanrio, Inc. “Over the past 60 years, Sanrio has cemented a legacy built on the foundation of Small Gift, Big Smile and this collection with Mattel encompasses that so well.”

Silvia Figini, chief operating officer Sanrio – EMEA, India and Oceania, Mr Men – Worldwide, added: “The toy range will be an amazing combination of both cuteness and freshness and we are sure consumers will be excited: both young girls and their mothers will love spending time together playing with the tiny accessories and the surprise collectibles.”

Gaming and YouTube properties fuel growth in demand for licensing in the toy space, says Kids Insights’ Global Toys and Games Report

The rise of YouTube and gaming properties, spanning the likes of Minecraft, Fortnite, Sonic, and Ryan’s World have fuelled a growth in demand for licensed properties across the children’s toys and games space over the course of the last 12 months, according to findings of Kids Insights’ first Global Toys and Games Report 2020.

The same report has underlined a number of key highlights from the children’s space, including a universal rise in awareness around sustainability, as well as the role that analogue gaming has to play in children’s and family wellbeing. The findings are all part of the first in a series of industry-spanning reports from Kids Insights.

The Global Toys and Games Report 2020 is the first in a series of studies focusing on the macroeconomics shaping toys, industry trends, and developments in advertising and marketing today.

Among the key findings of the report – the first in a series of reports from Kids Insights (a research organisation that surveys some 105,000 children a year across across Europe and India) – is up to the minute insight on topics spanning wellbeing, sustainability, demand for licensing, and consumer spend.

The initial report has found that today’s children are finding greater financial empowerment and in the US, kids are receiving $3.76bn a year to spend as they wish, with a growing number utilising Debit cards. With that greater means of spend, children are being faced with greater choice when it comes to how they spend their money.

Kids Insights has found that children now spend £581 million on in-experience purchasing, such as Apps and In Game Purchasing, compared to spending £969 million on toys and games.

In the UK, over one third of kids aged six to nine play with classic board games such as Monopoly, Guess Who, and Jenga monthly, while the team’s data shows a positive link between playing board games and positive wellbeing. According to Kids Insights, tweens who play board games as a hobby reported feeling frequently happy 51 per cent more than average. Similarly, they feel anxious at a lower rate.

Meanwhile, the report has also highlighted the growing importance of sustainability, underlining that as families become more eco-centric, brands need to have more focus on their sustainability strategy as this becomes a more important purchasing decision factor.

Other findings include the impact of Generation Speak, as well as the growth in demand for licensed properties, driven by a significant increase in gaming and YouTube properties, with the likes of Minecraft, Fortnite, Sonic, Ryan’s World, and Jojo Siwa performing the strongest over the last 12 months.

Utku Tansel LLB, MBA head of global industry reports, Kids Insights, said: “I have been working in this industry for 12 years and in my career, I have not witnessed such speed of change.

“The industry is increasingly embracing sustainability and inclusivity while AR and AI push limits on innovation-driven largely by ever-rising smart phone/tablet penetration among children.

“Our study takes readers to an exciting journey shaped by key developments and opportunities showcased in new world order.”

To enquire for a full copy of Kids Insights’ Global Toy & Games Report 2020, click on this link.


To purchase a full copy of Kids Insights’ Global Toy & Games Report 2020, click on this link.