U.S. teenagers accounted for more than $75 billion in spending power at the end of 2018 and understanding their buying habits is crucial to predicting their future spending trends. That key finding comes from the latest semi-annual, proprietary research by Minneapolis-based Piper Jaffray, which surveyed 8,000 teens with an average age of 16.3 and average household income of $67,700, for its latest 65-page report. Piper Jaffray points out that the average teen in its survey was four years old when the first iPhone was introduced, and most are taking a driver’s license test this year.
Both Vans and lululemon made significant gains among global lifestyle brands in the latest survey. VF-owned Vans gained 600 basis points year-over-year to remain the “No. 2 preferred footwear brand” as it became the second most popular brand among all female teens and top footwear brand among upper-income surveyed females, surpassing Nike. Meanwhile, LULU broke into the Top 10 apparel brands among the GenZ set for the first time, moving to eighth from 11th in the Fall 2018 survey. The brand is also the second most popular apparel brand among upper-income teens with its 15 percent mindshare representing a doubling over the last 18 months.
The Piper Jaffray report also finds that GenZers are active with political and social issues, with nearly 90 percent listing a concern that they care about, ranging from immigration/border control and gun control/violence to equality for women and bullying.
As to where teens spend money, the investment house found that teen males dedicate 16 percent of their wallets to clothing, less than the 25 percent than their female counterparts reserve. Male teens are spending more than ever on video games at 14 percent of wallet, an all-time high. Meanwhile, where teens are shopping continues to evolve with online share increasing 500 basis points to 24 percent this spring as the dept./specialty store share slipped year-over-year to 37 percent. Amazon continues to gain teen online shopping mindshare, Piper Jaffray reported, rising to 50 percent from 47 percent during the Fall 2018 survey.
Meanwhile, teens are showing more interest in athletic apparel as “preferred brands,” rising to 36 percent from 34 percent last fall but still below a peak of 41 percent in Spring 2017. Nike (22%) remained the top apparel brand among all teens, but below its Spring 2018 score. Adidas’ percentage fell to 5 percent from 6 percent in Fall 2018. Gucci, Vans, Tommy Hilfiger and Champion all scored in the Top 15 among teen males. In the athletic footwear segment, 72 percent of teen females said they preferred an athletic footwear brand, a new survey high, as their male counterparts preference for athletic held steady at 84 percent.
Among the Top 10 favorite footwear brands, Vans hit its highest level in survey history at 20 percent, trailing only Nike’s steady 41 percent. Adidas dipped slightly to 13 percent from 14 percent in Fall 2018. Steve Madden’s share was flat at 1 percent, tied with Birkenstock, and Sperry Top-Sider fell out of the Top 10 among all survey teens.
Piper Jaffray also discovered the Top Three fashion trends among upper-income teens right now are: Nike/Jordans (14%), athleticwear (11%) and Vans (6%) for boys and leggings/lululemon (28%), Vans (8%) and crop tops (5%0 among girls. Among the Top Three brands starting to be worn by the surveyed, upper-income GenZers, boys favored Adidas (15%), Champion (9%) and Nike (9%) with their female counterparts favoring American Eagle and lululemon (each 6%) and Vans, PacSun, Adidas, Nike, Champion and Brandy Melville (each tied at 5%).