The rules on legal capacity and thus the effectiveness of contracts with minors also apply on the Internet.

The essentials in brief:

  • Only those who are of legal age, i.e. 18 years old, have unlimited legal capacity.
  • Children and young people from the age of seven can buy something as part of their pocket money.
  • In the case of Internet purchases, parents must either give their consent beforehand or approve the deal afterwards.

Children and young people today also have regular access to the Internet. Since online retailers do not usually check the ages of their customers, they can easily shop online without parental permission.

However, the rules governing the legal capacity and thus the validity of contracts with minors on the Internet as well as in stationary retail apply. In plain language: Only those who are of legal age, i.e. 18 years old, have unlimited legal capacity. According to the law, children under the age of seven are incapable of contracting and cannot conclude contracts on their own.

What influences the purchase decision of 16 to 18 year old’s

The influence of influencers on young people is interesting. 41 percent and thus almost half of all respondents have already ordered something online after an influencer had previously advertised it. Around half of the girls and a third of the boys have already purchased a product on the recommendation of an influencer.

Children from the age of seven and young people can only buy something without the consent of their parents within the scope of the free use of pocket money (“pocket money paragraph“). However, this is only possible without the consent of the parents if the goods can be paid for immediately with pocket money.

Sustainability and the environment are particularly relevant for young people when buying clothes or shoes as well as cosmetics, creams or perfumes. The sustainability factor was 42 percent of the weight for accessories such as sunglasses or bags, and 37 percent for media products such as books or video games. When buying notebooks or smartphones, sustainable production plays a 36 percent role in the purchasing decision of young people.

Online retailers can learn that from this
Shop operators can make use of this knowledge and expand their range to include sustainable products and climate-neutral shipping. The mobile optimization of the web shops also remains important. Young people spend an average of 71.5 hours a week online. That’s about ten hours a day, including the time for online school and study. Most of the time you go to the Internet via your smartphone. 67 percent of online use is mobile.

The advertising industry has long seen a shift towards social media. According to this study, advertising can reach the young target group  similar to ‘Sokkenwol‘ particularly well via influencers. With the right levers, the corona crisis can be an opportunity for online retailers.