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Marketers Target the U.S. Tweens Segment

Tweens online may well be marketers' next big coveted demographic. U.S. tweens and young teens -- children between the ages of 8 and 14 -- are strong in number and in purchasing power, says eMarketer's latest report. Some 20 million of them use the Internet. And by 2010, 71 percent of children ages 8-11 will be online.

They wield a mighty pocketbook. In 2005, tweens will account for $9.7 billion in spending. As they grow up, young people become more adept at utilizing multiple media. Over half of boys and girls own and use a computer, VCR, DVD player and mobile phone. In one survey quoted by eMarketer, tweens report that they love watching TV. But another study points out that children 8 to 18 spend fully one-quarter of their media time multi-tasking among media.

"Tweens and young teens may be the first generation that will come into adulthood fully expecting to obtain their media on a variety of platforms," writes Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer's senior analyst and author of the report.

What is the best way for marketers to reach tweens and teens? The simple answer is everywhere. The younger group plays more games, everyone prefers instant messaging to e-mail, and as tweens pass into their teenage years they devote more time to downloading music.

More than one-third of teens ages 12 to 14 frequent MySpace, according to one study. And, the hot growth opportunity for wireless carriers is the tween market. Harris Interactive data from 2006 shows that 23 percent of children ages 8 to 12 own a mobile phone, up from 12 percent the previous year.

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