Consumer socialization of children: A retrospective look at twenty-five years of research

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Twenty-five years of consumer socialization research have yielded an impressive set of findings. The purpose of our article is to review these findings and assess what we know about children's development as consumers. Our focus is on the developmental sequence characterizing the growth of consumer knowledge, skills, and values as children mature throughout childhood and adolescence. In doing so, we present a conceptual framework for understanding consumer socialization as a series of stages, with transitions between stages occurring as children grow older and mature in cognitive and social terms. We then review empirical findings illustrating these stages, including children's knowledge of products, brands, advertising, shopping, pricing, decision-making strategies, parental influence strategies, and consumption motives and values. Based on the evidence reviewed, implications are drawn for future theoretical and empirical development in the field of consumer socialization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-213
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1999


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