eBay is exploring how to reach a new target of buyers and sellers, increasingly with cash to spare: teens.
The e-commerce giant told the Wall Street Journal today that it has long been considering ways to bring youth into the fold. Devin Wenig, eBay’s president of global marketplaces, said teens will soon be able to set up their own accounts to purchase back-to-school supplies, clothes, accessories, and more.
eBay will not make a formal announcement for at least nine months but is already addressing numerous privacy concerns. The company will likely require parental approval and will experiment with settings to prevent minors from accessing adult-only content.
The trend for technology companies to market to youth with disposable incomes will continue to grow. Earlier today, I covered the launch of an LA-based startup that developed a platform for under-18s to launch small businesses in minutes.
By appealing to preteens and teens, brands can develop life-long relationships, influence household buying decisions, and tap an emerging market.
From a marketers perspective, kids are not all that hard to reach. Recent research has shown that they are flocking to social networking and e-commerce sites and flouting age restrictions. The Telegraph cited a recent study that nearly 50 percent of under-12s in Britain are avid Facebook users, a number that is set to rise. For this reason, Facebook has considered opening up its social network to a younger age bracket.
Privacy advocates and Internet watchdogs have struggled for years to ban minors from accessing these sites. Rather than trying to prevent youth participation in their site altogether, eBay’s decision to safely and securely include under-18s, seems to me to be the only remaining option.