16th Semi-Annual Piper Jaffray 'Taking Stock With Teens' Study Indicates Bottom May Be Nearing for 'Discretionary Recession'

10/09/2008 | 09:00:00 AM


According to the 16th semi-annual "Taking Stock With Teens" research survey, recently published by Piper Jaffray, a "bottom" may be forming in the two and one-half year "discretionary recession" as total teen spending on fashion increased by a modest 1 percent on a year-over-year basis. The national study, which is conducted by senior retail research analyst Jeff Klinefelter and a collaborative team of research analysts, aims to determine purchasing behavior and brand preferences among teens. This fall, the team surveyed 850 students using in-class, electronic and in-store surveys during classroom visits and mall research field trips in 10 cities across the United States. Piper Jaffray also captured an additional 6,800 online survey responses through the national DECA organization, which partnered with the retail research team for the eighth time.

The survey results indicate total spending trends were stronger for young women on a year-over-year basis, up 6 percent from fall 2007, but slightly weaker on a sequential basis with a 7 percent decline. Spending trends among young men were consistent on both a year-over-year and sequential basis at a 3 percent decline.

"Our national school survey indicates total spending on fashion is essentially flat with last fall," said Klinefelter. "While it may be too early to call an inflection point, the results of the survey may point to an improvement in spending on this category within the next six to 12 months. Historically, fashion replenishment cycles have lasted three to five years, followed by transition cycles lasting another two to four years."

Other key findings from the survey in the fashion, beauty and personal care, video game, digital media and restaurant categories include the following:

    --  West Coast Brands (e.g. Pacific Sunwear, Volcom, Quicksilver,
        Zumiez) took the No. 1 spot in clothing brand preferences
        among teens, followed by Hollister, Forever 21, American Eagle
        and Abercrombie & Fitch. Specifically among brands ranked by
        young women, Forever 21 took the "most preferred" position,
        while West Coast Brands continued to remain a favorite among
        young men.

    --  Spending in the beauty category is down sequentially by 13
        percent, as indicated by both teen groups in the national
        school survey and national online survey. Parents also
        indicated that they are spending 9 percent more on beauty
        purchases from six months ago, and 6 percent below levels
        indicated in fall 2007.

    --  Survey results indicate that 86 percent of teens own one video
        game console, while 64 percent own two consoles. The results
        also indicate that 61 percent of teen gamers surveyed purchase
        pre-owned games to expand their game collections, which is up
        56 percent from spring 2008. Additionally, GameStop and Best
        Buy are the top two retail destinations for teens in terms of
        purchasing video games.

    --  In digital music, 84 percent of students who own an MP3 player
        indicated that they own an iPod - up from 82 percent last
        fall. iTunes share also rose to 93 percent from 79 percent
        last fall. In addition, 8 percent of students indicate they
        own an Apple iPhone (up from 3 percent in fall 2007), while 22
        percent of students expect to buy an iPhone in the next 6
        months (up from 9 percent in the prior survey).

    --  In the movie rental category, 19 percent of students use a
        DVD-by-mail service and 29 percent expect to use DVD-by-mail
        in two years. Similarly, 22 percent are downloading movies
        today and 36 percent expect to download movies in two years.
        Usage of movie rental stores is falling, with 82 percent of
        student renting movies at stores today and 66 percent
        expecting to use stores in two years.

    --  In the restaurant category, Starbucks has once again secured
        the No 1. spot and is preferred by teens in both the school
        and online surveys, followed by Chipotle at No. 2. Applebee's,
        McDonald's, Olive Garden and Red Lobster all continue to vie
        for the No 3. position from season to season. Approximately 42
        percent of the students surveyed believe they have spent more
        money this year at restaurants than last year, which is down
        from prior survey results. Finally, while "taste" ranks No. 1
        as a source of influence, "value" has moved to No. 3 from the
        No. 5 position as teen consumers become more conscious of
        pocketbook pressures.

Piper Jaffray also polled nearly 150 parents on the amount they spend either on themselves or on their teens. Spending on teens increased 9 percent year-over-year and 23 percent sequentially as parents indicated that annual spending on teen apparel totaled $1,085 versus $883 in the spring 2008 survey and $995 in fall 2007. The results also indicated that parents' annual spending on their own apparel increased 17 percent sequentially and 15 percent year-over-year.

About Piper Jaffray

Piper Jaffray Companies is a leading, international middle market investment bank and institutional securities firm, serving the needs of middle market corporations, private equity groups, public entities, nonprofit clients and institutional investors. Founded in 1895, Piper Jaffray provides a comprehensive set of products and services, including equity and debt capital markets products; public finance services; mergers and acquisitions advisory services; high-yield and structured products; institutional equity and fixed-income sales and trading; and equity and high-yield research. With headquarters in Minneapolis, Piper Jaffray has 28 offices across the United States and international locations in London, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. Piper Jaffray & Co. is the firm's principal operating subsidiary. (NYSE: PJC) (http://www.piperjaffray.com)

Since 1895. Member SIPC and FINRA.

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Piper Jaffray Companies
Media Relations
Andrea Young, 612-303-6697

Source: Piper Jaffray Companies