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“These Days, Kids Select Home Appliances”

Posted February. 01, 2005 22:05,   


Since April 2004, all CJ companies’ employees at the team-leader level or higher have been subscribing to a weekly report on trends of teens from Whitenext, an ad company.

Whitenext has a “Trend Watcher” team that researches teen culture. The team employed some 20 college students as interns. The students collect new trends popular among the teens through field observations and interviews, and then five trend analysts in the company analyze and write a report on teens.

Recently, companies are busy analyzing teens. Not only ad firms like Cheil Communications and LG Ad, but also major conglomerates and financial firms like Samsung Electronics, KT and Shinhan Bank are scrambling to analyze the “Korean Digital Kid.”

Some companies commissioned research on teens to outside experts giving them a handsome amount of money, like SK telecom which asked psychology professor Hwang Sang-min of Yonsei University, who has studied cyber psychology, to do research of the new digital generation.

The reason those companies began “teen research” is that opinions of teens, who have the best knowledge of IT among family members, tend to play a key part in a household’s purchase of digital products like computers, mobile phones, digital cameras, home theater, and MP3 players.

Deputy General Manager Kim Jae-in of the Marketing Communication Group of Samsung Electronics says, “A field survey shows that there is a tendency in which teens select products when they visit outlets with their parents,” adding, “Due to the rapid change in technology, parents in their mid-30s or older have difficulty understanding IT-related products.”

Companies are keen on teens also to grasp the tendency of social changes. Dr. Kim Ik-tae of the Brand Marketing Research Institute of Cheil Communications said, “The meaning of an understanding of the digital kid is not confined to research on a particular generation. It also provides companies with insight, which is important in order to understand the mechanism of a digital society.”

The features of digital kids that companies point out are subjectivity in looking at the world with their own feelings and judgment, a new way of communication and making relationships, cyber egos which do not distinguish online and offline worlds, digital sensitivity and attachment of value to images, and a variety which refuses generalization.

Baek Sun-hee, leader of the Whitenext’s Trend Watcher team, analyzes, “Korean teens who are growing in the world’s most progressive digital infrastructure have a big difference from the older generations in their forming of identity, socialization, making relationships with others and ways of studying.”