Vans, Adidas, Lululemon and "surprisingly," Crocs have all risen in teens' estimation, according to investment bank and asset management firm Piper Jaffray's 36th semi-annual Taking Stock With Teens survey. Teens care more about name brands: About 45% of teens say "brand" is most important in making a purchase, up from 33% six years ago, according to the report.
When it comes to sneakers, Nike's mindshare among teens declined from 25% to 22%, and Adidas remains the No. 3 brand, the research found. Fashions from the 1990s and streetwear styles continue to grow, especially brands Tommy Hilfiger, Supreme, CK and Champion, and luxury brands including Off-White, Balenciaga and Gucci, according to the report.
Teenage girls are spending less on fashion accessories and more on personal care, and "teens overwhelmingly prefer to shop for color cosmetics in-store (91% of female teens) vs. online." When it does come to e-commerce, Amazon is teens' favorite, with mindshare rise to 47% from 44% last spring, according to Piper Jaffray.
Teenagers are notoriously fickle, which may be why Piper Jaffray sees fit to run its survey of the demographic, which this time around took the pulse of 8,600 teens across 48 U.S. states with an average age of 16, twice a year. The investment bank says it has surveyed more than 169,000 teens and collected over 43 million data points on teen spending since 2001.
While the survey shows that teens are drawn to fashion styles from a generation ago, it also reveals that their main priority is food, which is still their No. 1 spending category, remaining at its 24% peak. Nike, meanwhile, is slipping, after grabbing the top spot in the spring survey, an indication of how streetwear styles are overtaking athletic ones when it comes to style preferences of youth. It remains to be seen if the athletic wear maker's bold campaign with Colin Kaepernick could help it gain mindshare, though several surveys have found that younger consumers are likely to respect the move.
Even the youngest teens, more than ever in fact, aim to find a way to buy an iPhone: 86% of Gen-Z will choose the iPhone next time they buy a phone, compared to 84% last spring, according to the report. That could hit their spending on other things, and spending overall is flat these days, according to Piper Jaffray senior research analyst Erinn Murphy.
"That said, teen spending continues to expand in categories like video games & food. Females now indicate they spend 3x more on beauty than accessories," she said in a statement. "Within fashion, we see a strong brand cycle emerging led by athletic, streetwear & 1990s brands ranging from Vans, Supreme, Tommy Hilfiger & Adidas."