Ahead of the Holiday Season, Piper Jaffray Reveals the Brands Teens Want

As the retail industry approaches the holiday shopping season, overall teen spending has increased by 1 percent over fall 2017 but decreased 5 percent since spring 2018 among teenage members of Generation Z. Regarding their fashion purchases, teens in the United States are placing more importance on brand-name clothing than they were during the same time frame six years ago.

These trends were uncovered in the 36th semiannual “Taking Stock With Teens” survey, which was conducted by the Minneapolis-based investment bank Piper Jaffray. Surveying 8,600 teenagers in 48 states, the report affords insight into the spending habits of Gen Z, with an average age of 16 for survey respondents.

“Our fall survey showed overall teen spending flat over the prior year,” Erinn Murphy, Piper Jaffray senior research analyst, said in a statement. “That said, teen spending continues to expand in categories like video games and food. Females now indicate they spend three times more on beauty than accessories.”

While spending on accessories fell among female teenage consumers, fashion experienced a slight year-over-year uptick. Overall, 45 percent of teenagers surveyed during fall 2018 considered branding as the most important factor when making purchases compared with 33 percent in 2012.

“Within fashion, we see a strong brand cycle emerging led by athletic, streetwear and 1990s brands ranging from Vans, Supreme, Tommy Hilfiger and Adidas,” Murphy said.

As Nike maintained its top position as the most popular clothing brand, it also decreased in mindshare from 25 percent in 2017 to only 22 percent in 2018. American Eagle placed second, with 9 percent, and Adidas retained its spot at No. 3 with 6 percent mindshare. Among female respondents, Vans enjoyed an all-time high as the top footwear brand for those shoppers in the upper-income bracket. Overall, Nike, Vans and Adidas placed in the top-three spots for footwear, respectively.

When buying their preferred clothing, those in Gen Z are most likely to choose Amazon over other online shopping destinations. Social-media use is now led by Instagram, which edged above Snapchat, and Facebook continues to decline.