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Families in lockdown: how family life has changed due to the pandemic

Creature Media finds out from children and parents just how lockdown has affected family life in major new research.

Creature Media has undertaken a major piece of research, asking children and parents how family life has been affected during lockdown, with some of the results certainly set to give the licensing industry food for thought.

Creature Media – which has been the brand custodian for National Geographic Kids for the past 14 years – presented the research during a special webinar for Products of Change at the end of July.

The study found that, while children were accompanying their parents to the shops less than they did pre-lockdown, 30% of kids think they’ve actually had more of an influence over their parents’ purchase decisions during the period. However, 29% of parents think their kids have had less of an influence.

Understandably, how and where parents shop has changed since lockdown – with more online shopping taking place.

The top four kids’ products parents bought were books (64%), magazines (45%), TV subscriptions (45%) and board games/puzzles (42%). Meanwhile, the top four products which kids asked for were books (47%), toys (41%), TV subscriptions (40%) and magazines (35%).

Notably, 59% of parents reported that they didn’t buy more plastic-wrapped goods as a result of hygiene concerns, 68% of families said they’ve been kinder to the planet during lockdown, while the same percentage of respondents said they’ve engaged more with nature during the period.

Interestingly, 75% of kids have their own face masks with popular characters including Harry Potter, Beauty and the Beast, The Avengers and Winnie the Pooh.

Creature Media has also continued to publish National Geographic Kids throughout the lockdown period with md Peter Johnson telling Source that, while like everyone across the globe, no one knew what was coming next, the one constant throughout was demand.

“First we started to see our website numbers spike to levels we’d never seen before and then subscription sales went 120% up YOY,” Peter commented. “As the schools closed we saw this increase even further as Whatsapp messages shared by parents and teachers recommended Nat Geo Kids as a way to keep their child educated and engaged with nature during lockdown – this lead to 240% increases on subscription YOY for the UK and ANZ.

“What we started to realise at this point was that we were going to play a really important role helping parents and kids through this difficult time and with that in mind it wasn’t about how well we were doing, but about how we could help.”

Peter continued: “Nat Geo Kids isn’t cheap with an average subscription costing £37, but if we wanted to make it accessible to everyone and with this in mind we decided to make our complete digital back catalogue completely free to anyone who wanted it. No sign ups, no card details just open access for everyone.

“We pushed it out to our teacher networks, friends and family groups and within days we had tens of thousands of children accessing it. We also donated 2,000 magazines to vulnerable groups during lockdown via the NLT. We were all in this together, in a situation none of us had been in before and it felt like those doing well needed to help those who weren’t.”

Creature Media also works with brands including Unilever and LEGO to help inform and inspire their audiences about specific topics. During lockdown, Persil funded the creation of a range of additional content to help families engage with nature at home.

Peter explained: “We created a range of content for them to use on their media and were also able to publish it and create a sponsored hub on our website called home is good which was Persil’s play on their long running CSR campaign, Dirt is Good. At present we’ve engaged over 1.4 million families with this.”

To find out more about Creature Media and its research findings, simply click on this link.

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