Ten-year-olds 'primed to become shopaholics'

Children as young as 10 are becoming addicted to shopping, a survey shows.

Eight out of 10 children aged between 10 and 12 say they have already developed a passion for conspicuous consumption, the poll for the National Consumer Council (NCC) found. But more than three-quarters of the 1,000 children polled said they also believed that people buy things they do not need.

Philip Cullum, deputy chief executive at the NCC, said: "Most of us enjoy shopping from time to time. But the worrying finding is the extent to which young children are being primed to become shopaholics. By the age of 10, most have already been lured into a world of fashionable labels and must-have gadgets."

Children in the east Midlands are the most passionate shoppers, with 91 per cent saying they enjoy visiting the high street. The lowest number of big spenders is in East Anglia, but even there, 75 per cent like shopping.

Today's tweenies are no longer content with a few Saturday morning sweets to satisfy their materialistic desires. Designer labels and the latest fashions are must-have items. The Market analyst Mintel estimates that despite the falling birth rate, the children's clothes sector has grown by 26 per cent to £4.79bn in the past five years.

A study by the Liverpool Victoria friendly society has found that, on average, a child will cost his or her parents £38,488 between the ages of six and 11.

Tomorrow has been designated national No Shopping Day by ethical campaigners to encourage people to avoid buying things they do not need in order to reduce global consumption.