At the age of four or five, many children begin to make purchases on their own. By the time they are ten, they make more than 250 purchase visits to stores each year. Marketing to children has come a long way since the days when "secret decoder rings" were sold on cereal boxes. Children today have their own television and radio networks, magazines, newspapers, product clubs, banks, bookstores, and clothing shops. Changes in the American family have also served to force children into the marketplace sooner. Working parents rely on their children to do more household chores, including shopping. Smart manufacturers and retailers recognize the children's market as a potential gold mine, and the expert they turn to for advice is internationally recognized authority James U. McNeal. McNeal's Kids as Customers is the indispensable marketing handbook for companies marketing to four-to-twelve year-olds--a market McNeal describes as having the greatest sales potential of any age or demographic group. McNeal classifies the children's market into three distinct categories: primary, influence, and future. As a primary market, children in the United States have over $9 billion to spend. McNeal explains how they get their money, where they shop, what they buy, and what persuades them to select one product over another. As an influence market, children direct at least $130 billion of adults' spending. McNeal offers for the first time a measure of kids' influence on their parents' purchases of 62 household items, from ice cream to home computers. As future consumers, children will control even more purchasing dollars. McNeal shows businesses how to cultivate today's children into loyal long-termcustomers. What's more, McNeal urges businesses not to overlook the potential of the vast overseas market. Many foreign children, especially in countries like Great Britain, Japan, and Taiwan, have the same purchasing power as Americans, but they often have fewer products to choose from. And, unlike their parents, foreign children frequently prefer American-made goods. McNeal provides invaluable data on foreign children's income, purchasing, and saving practices--and practical guidelines for tapping into the children's market overseas. Retailers, advertisers, product designers, and market researchers will all benefit from McNeal's extensive research and his examples of highly successful children's marketing strategies, as well as some that were total failures. Kids as Customers presents the practical advice and hands-on techniques any business needs to succeed in the fast-growing children's marketplace.