Taking stock with teens - spring 2015

A collaborative consumer insights project

Since the survey’s inception, Piper Sandler 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.  

Media Contact

Pamela Steensland
Piper Sandler & Co.
Tel: 612 303-8184

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Teens in this spring’s 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.

Key findings from the survey in fashion, beauty and personal care, digital media, food, gaming and entertainment include the following:

  • 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 part-time employed, compared to 33% in the 2014 spring survey
  • Teen wallets continue to shift from possession-based categories like fashion toward “shareworthy” 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’s Secret, Vineyard Vines, UGG Australia and Timberland
  • Michael Kors remains the No. 1 preferred handbag brand, eclipsing Coach’s 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’s 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—the 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’s history

About the Survey

The Taking Stock With Teens survey is a semi-annual research project comprised of gathering input from approximately 6,200 teens with an average age of 16.3 years. Teen spending patterns, fashion trends, and brand and media preferences were assessed through visits to a geographically diverse subset of high schools across the U.S.