Clothing and makeup advertisers are targeting girls at younger ages than ever before. For example, Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers are aimed at girls between 4 and 6 years old. Why? Because manufacturers want to hook customers early and keep them loyal to the brand. According to USA Today, part of it has to do with spending power. People between 8 and 26 are considered the most important group for retailers and marketers.

Why? Because research shows they have a huge influence on what their family buys. A recent study found that girls between 7 and 14 years old spent $11.5 billion dollars on apparel last year. Another reason advertisers are targeting the under 10 crowd is “age compression”. Some marketers call it “Kids Getting Older Younger” or KGOY. Basically, kids are exposed to outside influences much earlier. They’re in preschool at age 3, and on the computer at 6. So, it’s no surprise that they’re tired of toys and “kid clothes” by age 8.  

Then there’s peer pressure. Tweens want to fit in, but they also want to stand out at the same time. Of course, standing out by looking “dorky” is a fate worse than death. So they want to look like their friends, only different. Which is why the most popular retailers tend offer a lot of similar apparel that can be customized. Like Polo Ralph Lauren. They offer tons of clothing color choices and monograms so kids can create their own identity, and still fit in.   

Another reason tweens are a manufacturer’s dream: They want more of everything. Tweens haven’t learned to set limits. So, they see no reason why they shouldn’t get every flavor of lip balm available, or buy several pairs of jeans or sneakers, even if they quickly outgrow them. And manufacturers are counting on that mind-set to boost sales. Tweens also want to look older. If they’re 10, they want to dress like a 12-year-old. And if they’re 12, they want to look 14. By acting older they feel more powerful and think they’ll get more attention.