Trendspotting: Teens' Top Brands Change Little During the Pandemic
- Teen spending has hit a two-decade low, with spending on food, clothes, accessories, and events all down. But there are still bright spots for some retailers: The popularity of thrift shopping and secondhand items, for instance, is up hugely compared to last year. (CNBC)
- NH: Piper Sandler just published its 40th biannual “Taking Stock with Teens” survey. The report identifies how much money teens are spending, what they are buying, and what their favorite brands are. The results largely speak for themselves.
- Teens are spending far less money than they did last year. So far in 2020, the average teen has spent only $2,150, a 9% YoY decrease. One of the largest drops was in retail spending. The average teen has spent just $507 on apparel. That’s an 11% decrease from fall 2019. (See "Why Americans Are Spending More On Home Improvement.")
- OK, teens are spending a lot less. So what are their new favorite brands when they do spend?
- There's not much new here that we haven't already seen from Millennial teens. They name Nike as their top clothing brand, a distinction the company has held for the last ten years of the survey. They name Amazon their favorite e-commerce website, which they also did last year. Their top handbag brand is Louis Vuitton, and their favorite beauty store is Ulta. The only store with a notable drop in popularity was Victoria's Secret. In 2019 teens rated it their No. 13 favorite store; this year, it is ranked at No. 22. But this brand has been declining among women of all ages (see "Sex Doesn't Sell Like It Used To").
- When it comes to restaurants, Chick-fil-A reigns supreme with 21% of teens naming it as their top eatery. This may seem surprising due to Chick-fil-A's history of donating to anti-LGBTQ organizations, and consumers' tendency for their political views to influence their shopping. But teens' love of the fried chicken transcends politics. And in the red zone, teens defer to the intense loyalty this brand has earned among their parents. It also helps that Chick-fil-A has ended donating to many of the controversial groups it has given to in the past. (See “Shopping Along the Partisan Divide.”)
- In all, teen preferences haven't changed much during the pandemic. Many of the top-rated brands have been teen favorites for years. This is just another example of big retailers continuing to dominate, while smaller companies struggle to stand out. (See “Big Box Retailers Reign Supreme.”)
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