Denim Brands, Nike, Beauty Among Top Sources of Teen Spending

Piper Jaffray Companies, a New York-based investment bank and asset management firm, released its 32nd semi-annual Taking Stock With Teens research survey, highlighting spending trends and brand preferences in fashion, beauty and personal care, digital media, food, gaming and entertainment among 10,000 teens across 46 U.S. states. “While total spending among the teen demographic appears to be down slightly versus last year, we are encouraged that the upper-income teenagers in our survey are indicating more optimism and positive spending trends. This increase in spending among upper-income teens seems to be largely broad-based across fashion and beauty,” said Neely Tamminga, Piper Jaffray senior research analyst.

While the fall 2016 survey cites an overall fall in teen spending in the fashion and beauty categories compared to fall 2015, Piper Jaffray did find that spending trends are encouraging among upper-income teens, where total spending is indicated up 2.5% year-over-year. “Historically, we’ve observed that results from our upper-income survey set tend to lead overall spending,” according to the survey.

Denim brands were among some of the most influential, seeing an increase to 19% aggregated mindshare – the development of consumer awareness or popularity – for the second consecutive survey in a row. Fashion athletic apparel is still on the rise – particularly among upper-income teens – with a new high of 35% share achieved with Nike, adidas and Under Armour gaining share. Nike proved to be one of the top chosen apparel brands by the teens surveyed, followed by American Eagle Outfitters, Forever 21, Ralph Lauren, and Urban Outfitters. The Portland-based sportswear giant also topped the list of preferred footwear brands, with Vans, Converse (a Nike subsidiary), Adidas, and Steven Madden following. 

Top handbag brands: Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Coach, Louis Vuitton, Longchamp, and Vera Bradley. And total spending among upper-income females in the beauty category reached 11%―the highest value that Piper Jaffray has seen in its survey history.

On the e-commerce front, Amazon Prime adoption has grown across all income brackets in each of the past six surveys, most recently indicating Amazon Prime exists in 58% of households of the teens surveyed. "Amazon mindshare remained essentially unchanged in our Fall 2016 Taking Stock With Teens survey, with 40% of teens indicating it as their favorite eCommerce website," read the survey. 

Nothing earth-shattering came in terms of the tech results, dominating teen mindspace are Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram and Netflix. "Teens indicating they use Instagram increased [by 5 percentage points] in our Fall 2016 survey, slightly faster than Snapchat (4 percentage points). Snapchat remains teens’ favorite social network, however, with 35% of teens indicating it as their favorite social media platform (vs. 24% in Spring 2016) and 76% indicating it is in their top 3 (vs. 67%); in comparison, 24% of teens indicated Instagram as their favorite platform (vs. 23%) and 75% included it in their top 3 (vs. 67%)."