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    Introducing the iGeneration

    They can't vote, but the under-18 group is very influential when it comes to purchasing decisions.

    NATIONAL REPORT -- They may not be able to vote, but people under the age of 18, also referred to as the iGeneration or Generation Z, wield tremendous influence when it comes to purchasing decisions, Advertising Age reported.

    By the time members of the iGeneration reach college, they have accumulated an average of 300 or more friends on Facebook and can dramatically sway purchasing decisions made by their parents, according to Fuse Marketing.

    "There's a real resurgence of connectivity between kids and parents," Ara Finlayson, Fuse's director of agency insights, told the magazine. "We see more influence, more discussions on spending and more discussions about purchases including big investments like cars."

    Perhaps the bigger question is what products the potent Generation Z group is asking its parents to buy. A look at the 2011 top brands among 6- to 12-year-olds provides answers. The data, compiled by consulting firm Smarty Pants, revealed the top brand was the Nintendo Wii. Nintendo's DS ranked a solid No. 6.

    Apple, however, may have the most influence among 6- to 12-year olds. The iPod Touch ranked No. 7 on the list and the iPod was No. 10. Making huge moves from 2010 to 2011 were the iPad, improving from No. 109 to No. 25, and the iPhone, leaping to No. 29 from No. 96.

    "Apple is changing the way [the iGeneration] consumes content, connects with each other and connects with their parents," Wynne Tyree, co-founder and chief at Smarty Pants, told Advertising Age. "Apps are the way children are consuming content. There really is an 'app for that' from math facts to comparison shopping to calling their mom on FaceTime. The app world is changing the way kids get content."

    According to the magazine report, to reach the iGeneration, marketers must eschew traditional methods because the group spends more time on their phones than any other generation and less time watching television. Social media is an answer, but garnering a "like" is not enough. A friend's stamp of approval is much more valuable. About 78 percent of teens trust recommendations from friends and 77 percent rely on friends to tell them about new products and brands, vs. only 59 percent who look to TV advertising, Fuse research revealed.

    "So many of them now find out about brands, brands of jeans or new snack foods from each other on social media," Finlayson said in the Advertising Age report.

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