Despite more than three quarters of young people surveyed spending more than £10 per week – and almost a third spending more than £20 per week – they believe that shop owners and shopping centres don’t show the same respect to them as older shoppers.
Barney McNeany said: “Young people have told NICCY for some time that how they are treated in shops is a major concern for them,” said the Commissioner. “It’s now obvious from the survey results that this is an area where they believe they are shown different standards of customer care.”
“More than 70% of young people and three quarters of adults told us that young people are treated differently, despite the amount of money they spend.”
Carol Edwards, Head of Education at the Consumer Council said: “More pocket money and part time jobs give young people huge spending power. Young People’s money is as good as anyone else’s and forward thinking businesses should value and embrace this shopping generation.”
Mr McNeany said the findings of the survey were an important message to Northern Ireland’s retailers.
“Young people are not tomorrow’s consumers, they are spending today, and they are concerned that they are not receiving the same attention and welcoming attitude as adults receive.
“They are concerned that who they are with affects how they are treated. More than 80% of those surveyed said that if they were with a parent they would be regarded in a different light compared to how they are treated when alone or with friends.”
Key messages from the survey include asking shops to include incorporating the equal treatment of young shoppers in store training programmes, and that the in-store customer experience of young people should be part of retailers marketing considerations.
The survey was carried out by members of the NICCY Youth Panel who were trained in survey techniques and standards before undertaking the work.
More than 450 young people were surveyed, along with 92 adults and four representatives of retails outlets or shopping centres took part in the survey.
The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment Trading Standards Service and the NSPCC supported NICCY’s work with the General Consumer Council.
NICCY has made the report on the survey findings available on its website and will be circulating it to trade organisations throughout Northern Ireland.
Notes for Editors