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Teens more hot for food than clothing

BY Marianne Wilson

Teenagers are really into food.

In a trend that’s been growing in recent years, teens are spending more money on food than clothing, according to Piper Jaffray 35th semi-annual “Taking Stock With Teens” survey, which highlights discretionary spending trends and brand preferences among 6,000 teens across 40 U.S. states. The survey showed that overall teen spending is up 6% from fall, and up 2% from a year ago.

“Our spring survey has shown an uptick in teen spending, which we believe mirrors the economic expansion we are experiencing broadly,” said Erinn Murphy, senior research analyst, Piper Jaffray. “Within a teen’s wallet, food is the top priority but video games (for males) and beauty (for females) are gaining share.”

Top restaurants with teens include Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, Chipotle and McDonalds.

Beauty spending hit a new high for female teens at $368 per year. It was up 4% over last year and 22% from last fall, with the increase driven by the skincare category.

On the apparel front, streetwear saw the largest incremental gains, led by Vans and Supreme. The survey also found that a 1990s revival is underway with Champion and Tommy Hilfiger. But Ralph Lauren moved out of the top-10 brand list for males. It had been top-10 brand since 2002.

In other teen preferences:

• Nike is the top (23%) clothing brand, followed by American Eagle Outfitters (10%) and Adidas (6%). However, Nike’s mindshare declined while Adidas’ climbed.

• Refined classic brands hit an all-time low of 5%, with weakness from Ralph Lauren, Sperry and Vineyard Vines.

• Sephora ranked as teens’ favorite beauty destination (44%), followed by Ulta (28%) and Target (11%).

• Top footwear brands included Nike (42%), Vans (16%) and Adidas (14%).

• Amazon ranked as the top online shopping site (44%), with Nike a distant (6%) second.

• Snapchat and Instagram are teens’ fave social media channels.

• Intent to buy iPhone reached a new high – 84% of Gen-Z will choose the iPhone next (compared to 82% last fall).

• eBay mindshare declined to its lowest level recorded at 1.8%, compared to 3% in fall 2017.

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