Teens Command $75 Billion of Discretionary Spending

BY Courtney Huckabay
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Michael Kors remains the No. 1 preferred handbag brand among teenagers, eclipsing Coach‰Ûªs peak share in 2012. TheåÊPiper Jaffray Survey of 6,200 Teens Indicates Optimistic Economic Views among the teens, with an average age of 16.3 years. Females are slightly less optimistic than their male counterparts.

Piper Jaffray Companies, a leading investment bank and asset management firm, has completed its 29th semi-​annual Taking Stock With Teens research survey, which highlights spending trends amongst 6,200 U.S. teens.

Since the survey‰Ûªs inception, Piper Jaffray has surveyed approximately 120,000 teens and collected nearly 32 million data points on teen spending in fashion, beauty and personal care, digital media, food, gaming and entertainment.

Teens in this spring‰Ûªs survey exhibited stronger views of economic improvement with females slightly less optimistic than their male counterparts. Even unemployed teens reflected consistently optimistic economic views to their employed friends, albeit not as strongly positive.

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • Teens directly command $75 billion of discretionary spending, but largely as a result of the 2008 recession, teens have become budget-​conscious value seekers
  • 35% of teens are employed part-​time, compared to 33% in the 2014 spring survey
  • Teen wallets continue to shift from possession-​based categories like fashion toward ‰ÛÏshareworthy‰Û experiences such as events or dining out
  • Teens increasingly prefer to shop online rather than in-​store; however, they continue to prefer sites with physical locations over eTailers
  • Athletic-​leisure, preppy, leggings and jogging pants are among the top teen fashion trends
  • Most preferred brands include Ralph Lauren, Nike, Lululemon, Victoria‰Ûªs Secret, Vineyard Vines, UGG Australia and Timberland
  • Michael Kors remains the No. 1 preferred handbag brand, eclipsing Coach‰Ûªs peak share in 2012
  • MAC is the top preferred cosmetic brand among teen females across all income sets for the first time in the survey‰Ûªs history
  • Teens who spend above-​average on beauty prefer customer reviews over product selection as a top factor in online purchasing decisions
  • 36% anticipate playing more video games in 2015‰ÛÓthe highest intention to play more games in the survey in at least four years
  • Apple cracks the top 10 of teen watch preferences for the first time in the survey‰Ûªs history

When these teens DO spend their money, they're shopping for purses or handbags. Of course, most are female shoppers, BUT, AudienceSCAN found that 15% of purse shoppers are men buying for the women in their lives. 17% of handbag shoppers fall in to the 18–24 age bracket. Also of note, 65% of purse shoppers like to bake cakes, pies, breads or desserts and 38% are doing Aerobics/​Pilates/​Yoga for exercise. 36% respond to magazine advertising (print, online, mobile or on tablet). And 91% of handbag shoppers intend to purchase women's apparel this year.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports inåÊAdMall.