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Survey warns etailers they are missing out on juvenile pound

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Online shops are ignoring the potential of the teenage market, says new research. According to a report from KPMG, 80 per cent of 12 to 16 year olds want to buy stuff on the Net. While individual teens don't have much cash, as a group they are worth £3 billion a year, says the professional services firm. There are many hoops that retailers will have to jump through, if they want to get their hands on the cash. Of the group with the urge to splurge, only half of these have access to a computer at home. Under 18s cannot have credit cards -- which means all online buys must be okayed by parents anyway. The report suggests that debit cards could be encouraged by banks and businesses online. The phone bills and net access costs must also be picked up by sympathetic parents -- teenagers spend on average ten hours a month online. KPMG suggests that retailers may need to look at ways of cutting access charges. Companies must sign up with teen friendly search engines -- the most popular way of finding sites. Web addresses printed on products is another good way of getting teens to your site, says the report. Then there is the final challenge of making the site look good enough to keep the goldfish-like teens around long enough to buy something. With attentions spans so short that it's a case of five clicks and I'm off, sites must be made more navigable. But KPMG is convinced that the battle for the juvenile pound is worth fighting. It says teenagers will not only spend their own money, but will have a huge influence on their parents' spending habits, giving ecommerce an all round boost. ®

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