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Survey analyzes teen shopping behavior Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 07:31 PM America/New_York

stephaniewissinkPiper Jaffray has completed its 27th semi-annual Taking Stock With Teens market research project. The survey signals a potential point of stability, with spending contracting by just 1% from fall 2013 compared to sequential declines in the mid-single digits previously.

“Over the 13-year history of our survey, we have observed notable changes in the brands teens aspire to own and wear, the influences that direct what they buy and how teens are consuming, interacting with and sharing the brands they love,” said Steph Wissink, co-director of investment research and senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray. “The universal truths about teens remain the same—they continue to seek peer affirmation, their spending is almost entirely discretionary, and they are early adopters of change. What’s different about this generation of teens versus prior is that they are non-conformists, they seek experiences over products, and they align with brands that are practical yet cool.”

Key findings from the survey in fashion, beauty and personal care, restaurants, digital media, gaming and wireless communication include the following:

Teen males indicated they were spending more, up 4% from fall 2013, which has historically signaled inflection in broader spending.

For the first time in the survey's history, food exceeded clothing as a percentage of the teen wallet. Electronics also gained in share, while furniture and fashion ceded modest share.

Declines in the fashion category were most severe in accessories—down double-digits for a second cycle in a row.

Instagram ranked as the most important social network, exceeding Twitter and Facebook for the first time in survey history.

Music/radio listenership has grown for Pandora and local radio, largely at the cost of MP3s and CDs.

The survey is a semi-annual research project comprised of gathering input from approximately 7,500 teens with an average age of 16.4 years. For an infographic, visit