Athletic apparel is displayed inside a Lululemon Athletica store.
Xaume Olleros | Mayor Bloomberg | fake images
Teens are spending more and changing their buying habits, even as they worry about growing economic uncertainty, according to a new survey.
Sportswear brands like Lululemon and Nike that combine comfort and fashion are winning over traditional clothing brands, revealed Piper Sandler’s biannual “Taking Stock with Teens” report released on Wednesday.
Many teens say they are unsure of or uninterested in the so-called metaverse: the idea of buying products through a virtual reality experience. Retailers like Nike, PacSun, Forever 21 and ralph lauren everyone has been dipping their toes into the budding technology.
A growing number of teens also say they are much more familiar with NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, than they were last fall, while only a small percentage have bought one.
But they are also increasingly concerned about the Russian war in Ukraine, the survey revealed, and less concerned about the Covid-19 pandemic.
The results of the biannual survey have implications for companies vying for this generation’s dollars. That is particularly true now that the economic environment is plagued with uncertainty.
Teens plan to spend about $2,367 this year on everything from fast food and video games to handbags and sneakers, Piper Sandler found, or an estimated overall total of about $66 billion. That’s 9% more than the spending levels reported in the spring 2021 report and 4% more than Piper Sandler’s fall survey. Reported annual spending by teens peaked at about $3,023 in the spring of 2006.
Piper Sandler surveyed 7,100 teens from February 16 to March 22. The median age of respondents was 16.2 years old and the median household income was $69,298. Thirty-nine percent of teens surveyed were employed part-time, up from 38% last fall and 33% last year. Last spring.
Although teen spending levels have steadily improved since a low in the fall of 2020, businesses are still grappling with the question of what could derail growth and whether consumers will cut back on spending.
A staggering 71% of teens told Piper Sandler that they believe the US economy is getting worse, up from 56% who felt that way last fall and 46% last spring.
When asked what political or social issues mattered most to them, the top response from teens was the Russian invasion of Ukraine, at 13%. The environment followed, with 11%; racial equality, at 10%; gas prices, 10%; and inflation, at 4%.
The coronavirus notably fell off the list of the top 10 concerns of teens, after ranking fourth in Piper Sandler’s poll last fall and last spring.
Piper Sandler consumer analyst Matt Egger noted that continued concern among Gen Z consumers about the environment bodes well for rental platforms like rent the track and resale businesses such as ThredUp and the real real.
Meanwhile, Nike remained the #1 favorite clothing brand among teens, a spot it has held for 11 consecutive years. It also widened its margin as the preferred shoe brand among Gen Z shoppers, according to the survey, ahead of Converse, Adidas, vansnew balance and crocodilesin that order.
American Eagle it maintained its place as the second-favorite clothing brand among teens, followed by Lululemon, which moved up one position on the list from the previous year. Fast-fashion retailer H&M rose to fourth from ninth a year earlier. Adidas remained in fifth place.
Overall, sports brands named in the survey released Wednesday accounted for 44% of teens’ favorite clothing brands, the highest levels Piper Sandler has seen for the category. That aligns with a broader shift among consumers during the pandemic toward stretchy, looser clothing to wear around the house. And many teens are still incorporating athletic brands into their wardrobes even as they head back to school and the office.
Shein, a Chinese e-commerce fashion giant that is reportedly weighing a funding round with a valuation of around $100 billionranked seventh as teens’ favorite place to shop for clothes, down from sixth in fall 2021 but up from eighth last spring.
Women continue to spend much more than men on clothing, according to the Piper Sandler survey, while men spend, on average, about $51 more than women on shoes each year.
Amazon it remained by far the favorite shopping website overall, with 53% share, up from 52% last fall. Shein remained in second place, but her share of teen preference fell from 9% to 8%. Other retailers on the list included Nike, PacSun, Lululemon and Princess Pollyin that order.
When it comes to the metaverse and platforms like Roblox o Decentraland, 26% of teens reported owning some type of virtual reality device, with only 5% using it on a daily basis. Forty-eight percent said they are not sure or interested in the metaverse.