Economists have been using the term bifurcated when they discuss the recovery lately. Yes, some consumers are spending more on some items. But other consumers are looking to save whenever possible. And this purchasing behavior extends to the teen market. Merchants should keep this trend in mind when they are developing ad campaigns.
The internet ranks second among teens as an influence on purchase decisions, besting other types of media such as TV or movies. But while the internet may be a big influencer, it’s far from teens’ preferred shopping channel. About three in 10 teens said they liked shopping at specialty stores best, followed by shopping at major chains and discount stores. Just 11% of teens favored online shopping. Among average-income teens, online shopping experienced only slight growth since fall 2010, although upper-income teens are taking to e-commerce in somewhat larger numbers. Factors that hinder more teens from buying online, include lack of access to payment methods like credit cards as well as a preference for the social experience of going to the mall.
During the boom years, marketers targeted teens as a well-funded demographic group that spent heavily on fashion and the latest electronic gear. The recession and current political climate have changed the teen view of the world. As a result, Euro RSCG Worldwide PR, North America, has announced what it sees as the new teen trends. Today’s teens must deal with a different economic reality and marketers who understand this added dimension can position products and craft ad campaigns to reach teens on a new level.
While the shopping destinations of choice for teens are discount stores and mass merchants, department stores are gaining some traction with this demographic. According to The NPD Group’s Consumer Tracking Service, teens ages 13 to 17 accounted for almost 20% of athletic footwear sales during the back-to-school selling season (July, August, and September) during the past 3 seasons. An examination of this age group in the Retail and Brand Landscape Report Series shows that discount stores and mass merchants rank number one in converting teen shoppers from considering them as a place to shop and to get them to make a purchase, but the department store channel is moving up the ranks with both males and females.
A new report from the Retail Advertising & Marketing Association examines the similarities, differences, online shopping and search habits of moms of pre-teens compared to the average U.S. adult. Moms with tweens, defined as children aged eight to 12, use the Internet for research and also share information they find there through e-mails and text messages more often than does the average adult, according to the survey data. Coupons continue to serve as the top media influencer for both grocery (79.1%) and apparel (46.0%) purchases. Moms of tweens are tech-savvy and are adept at bargain-hunting and multi-tasking. Retailers should continue to find ways to attract mom – and her pre-teens – with coupons, fun and appealing phone applications and even social networking website promotions.
Four in 10 teens (40%) spend 3-6 hours online each day. Nearly half of teen Internet users (48%) regularly purchase products such as music, books, and clothing online, up from 31% in 2000, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Teens age 14-17 are more likely than those age 12-13 to have made an online purchase (53% vs. 38%). Girls aged 14-17 are also more likely than their boy counterparts to buy things online (57% vs. 48%).
Some 95% of girls aged 15-17 and 88% of girls aged 12-14 wear makeup. Beauty brands attribute the increase in young consumers buying their products to the Internet. “They are really savvy, they do their own research and know exactly what brands and products they need,” says cosmetic brand Korres’ Annia Spahr. More than half of cosmetic purchases are made at drug stores and an additional third come from Walmart. Cool colors are expected to be popular this fall, says many manufacturers. Many companies are introducing “peacock” shades, such as teal, navy, and gold, in lipsticks, eye shadows, and eyeliner.
The amount teens spend annually on clothing and accessories
dropped to $932 in spring 2010 from $1,083 in fall 2009, according to Piper Jaffray’s bi-annual “Taking Stock of Teens” study. Specialty stores (29%) are the top place teens purchase such merchandise; those who shop online jumped to 10% from 6% in 2007. Approximately 8% of a teen’s budget is spent on videogames, and the study finds a growing interest in non-traditional gaming platforms. In addition, Apple’s iPhone continues to grow in popularity among teens. Some 14% of students currently own one, with an additional 31% expecting to purchase one within six months.
Teen girls tend to vary the ways they share brand information with each other, according to Youth Markets Alert. Half pass it along via text message, 28% use the phone, 5% rely on Facebook, and another 5% use IM. One in two teen girls typically shop at stores near their home, with 47% saying music and atmosphere at a retail store are important factors in their shopping experience. Teen girls tend to look to celebrities rather than peers for advice on style. Nearly six in 10 (57%) tell others when they discover a new brand or trend.
Teens and young adults spend an average $2200 per year – from a combination of their own and their parents’ money – on expenses including cellphones ($864), fashion purchases ($624), videogames ($276), electronics ($240), and movies ($216), according to AOL and OTX. The Internet is the most frequently cited source of how teens learn about new products in electronics, fashion, and music. However, they are slightly more likely to learn about new movies through the television.