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No kidding

The children's segment is a big and serious business for brands of all hues.

Anumeha Chaturvedi | Print Edition: December 12, 2010

Roshni Bakshi, mother of eight-year-old Rahil and Dhruv, 15, is dragged - quite literally - to lifestyle and apparel stores like Landmark and Zara every weekend. "They do not like to walk out empty-handed and use all sorts of emotional blackmail. My eight-year-old is especially fond of technology and books, and is the first to update me about new shows and competition" says Bakshi.

Bakshi belongs to the set of gennext parents who are learning to keep up with their with-it children. She is learning fast not just because she is a mother of two. Bakshi is also Vice President of Consumer Products, Publishing and Retail at The Walt Disney Company India. "Kids these days have a huge pester power and will not take no for an answer," she adds.

Jiggy George attributes this trend to the KGOY, or kids growing older, younger, phenomenon. "With kids maturing faster, it does not take them long to get in tune with the world around them. Thus, they are very sure about their likes, dislikes and preferences," says the Founder and CEO of Dream Theatre, an entertainment company that is involved with licensing and merchandising.

How much is that doggie

Brands in the window for kids

Brands: Tommy Hilfi ger, Nautica Kids, Burberry Kids, Zara, Lilliput
Category: Apparel

Brands: Chicco
Category: Fashion clothing, beauty care, toys

Brands: Hamleys
Category: Toys

Brands: L'Oreal Garnier Kids
Category: Shampoos

Brands: Disney, Cartoon Network, Nick
Category: Stationery, toys, games, bags
That may not be the best news for parents, but brand managers and marketers cannot help but rub their hands with glee. From kidswear to fashion, from toys to beauty care, a rash of brands are targeted at the 0-15 age group. The brands range from home-grown ones to international designer labels. As the purchasing power of the Indian middle class continues to find new highs, they are having few problems indulging their kids with brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Nautica Kids, Burberry Kids and Zara, all of which have forayed into the Indian market in the recent past.

The numbers are large. For example, sales of licensed merchandise are estimated at close to $100 million annually - and most of that merchandise is children's properties. Also, industry estimates peg the market for character and non-character licensed products in organised retail at $3.5 billion, and growing at 15-20 per cent annually.

Marketers and retailers of toys, kids wear and baby care products are doubtless onto a good thing, but what if you sell all of this under one roof? That is what homegrown label Lilliput Kidswear is attempting. "We launched a new retail format of 10,000 sq. ft Lilliput World stores this year, which sell everything from apparel to furnishings and toys," says MD Sanjeev Narula.

The company's product range spans the entire 0-15 age group, starting with infants, and includes everything from innerwear to swimwear to nightwear. With consumers today starting from age 0, the market for entrepreneurs has just got larger - and its lifespan longer. Says Shailesh Chaturvedi, Executive Director and CEO of Arvind Murjani Brands, which has brought international designer lifestyle brands - for men, women and kids - like Tommy Hilfiger and Gloria Vanderbilt into the country: "We have an opportunity to seed our brand and logo in the minds of children who could become customers of our adult line in future."

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