A Study of Children’s Influence in Family Purchasing Decisions: Parents’ Perspective


  • S.D. Senevirathna UvaWellassa University, Sri Lanka
  • P. Wachissara Thero UvaWellassa University, Sri Lanka
  • P. O. De. Silva UvaWellassa University, Sri Lanka




Purpose: Child consumerism is a topic that has been given prominence and attention by the fields of marketing, psychology and sociology recently. Children are at the center of family decision-making. As a result of the socialization process, children have gained a depth of knowledge and are able to bargain with their parents for a variety of products. Thus, the main motive of this study is to explore the influence of children’s involvement in family purchasing decisions.

Design/methodology/approach: The study established a qualitative design, with the participation of parents who have children aged between 5 years to 11 years. Accordingly, 20 parents who have shopping experiences in two leading supermarkets in the Anuradhapura District were selected based on convenience and purposive sampling techniques. Furthermore, throughout the store's opening hours, data was gathered through semi-structured interviews. Then the findings were analyzed using the thematic analysis approach.

Findings: According to the findings of the survey, the children have been exposed to the field and become more aware of products and services through different agents of socialization. They used negotiation strategies like exchange tactics, coalition tactics, inspirational appeal, and consultation tactics to persuade their parents. But this persuasion can be varied in reference to the child’s age, gender, family income, and structure. Furthermore, children’s perspectives of selecting items are mostly formed on the extent of colorfulness and the physical shape of products rather than what is contained inside. Also, they mostly demanded sweets, toys, stationery items, and instant products. Notably, children’s preferences are given more consideration and priority in the matter of purchasing items. Moreover, the children hold a positive sense towards shopping tasks according to the parents’ point of view whereas the parents hold a negative attitude on children’s involvement.

Originality: The study has contributed to the body of knowledge about Sri Lankan children as consumers. Furthermore, this study identifies the impact of the store environment as a socializing agent, which has received less attention in prior studies. The findings could aid businesses in better understanding the shopping habits of Sri Lankan children.

Implications: Overall, it can be mentioned that the outcome of this study provided important implications for consumers, marketers, and policymakers.

Keywords: Family buying behavior, child involvement, socialization agents, persuasion, negotiation strategies.