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These brands score big with teens

Amazon, Nike, Sephora and Ulta Beauty are among teens’ favorites. But food is their top wallet priority.

That’s according to a semi-annual survey from Piper-Jaffray in which 47% of teens said that Amazon is their preferred shopping website (up from 44% last spring). Nike was a distant second at 5%, followed by American Eagle and Urban Outfitters, both at 3%, and PacSun, at 2%.

Nike came out on top, however, in two other categories. It was ranked as the favorite clothing brand (22%), followed by American Eagle (9%), adidas (6%), Forever 21 (5%) and PacSun (4%). Nike was also the top footwear brand (41%), topping Vans (19%), and adidas (14%).

Piper Jaffray 36th semi-annual “Taking Stock With Teens” survey highlights discretionary spending trends and brand preferences amongst 8,600 teens across 48 U.S. states with an average age of 16. It found that overall spending inched up 1% with the year-ago period, but was down 5% from spring.

“That said, teen spending continues to expand in categories like video games & food,” said Erinn Murphy, Piper Jaffray senior research analyst. “Females now indicate they spend three times more on beauty than accessories. Within fashion, we see a strong brand cycle emerging led by athletic, streetwear & 1990s brands ranging from Vans, Supreme, Tommy Hilfiger & Adidas.”

The survey revealed that food remains teens’ No. 1 spending category, with a 24% wallet share. The favorite among both upper-income and average-income teens was Chick-fil-A, followed by Starbucks.

In other survey findings:

• Brands matter – 45% of teens say “brand” is most important in making a purchase vs. 33% (six years ago);
• Male spending on video games hit a new peak at 14%;
• Most notable brand gainers were Vans, Adidas, lululemon and surprisingly, Crocs;
• Sephora and Ulta tied (34% each) as the top beauty destination, followed by Walmart (9%) and Target (8%);
• Teens overwhelmingly prefer to shop for color cosmetics in-store (91% of female teens) vs. online; and
• Intent to buy iPhone continues to climb – 86% of Gen-Z will choose the iPhone next (compared to 84% last spring).

Brands clearly matter to Generation Z, as 45% of teens said “brand” is most important in making a purchase vs. 33% six years ago. This is seen in their attraction to 1990s and streetwear styles from Tommy Hilfiger, Supreme, CK and Champion. They are also partial to luxury brands including Off-White, Balenciaga and Gucci.

Other brands that continue to gain momentum among this demographic are Vans, Adidas, Lululemon and surprisingly, Crocs, the study revealed.
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