Those were the key takeaways from Piper Jaffray’s 33rd Semi-Annual Proprietary Teen Research Project, a national survey that measures teen spending patterns, channel preferences and product trends and cycles. The latest data had 5,500 responses, with an average age of 16 years old and 39 percent stating they have part-time employment. The respondents were comprised of two groups: 1,400 teens who said household annual incomes were $100,000, representing the upper-income group, or the top 20 percent of U.S. households; and 4,100 teens who said annual household income was $55,000, the average-income group that is considered more aligned with the U.S. median.
Nike is the top brand in both the apparel and footwear categories, at 31 percent and 52 percent, respectively. For apparel, rounding out the top five are: American Eagle, Forever 21, Lululemon and a tie for fifth between Adidas and H&M. For footwear, Vans came in second, followed by Adidas, Converse and Steve Madden. For handbags, the top brand was Michael Kors at 33 percent. Ranking second was Kate Spade at 19 percent, followed by Coach, Longchamp and Louis Vuitton.
The survey found that parent contribution to teen spend is at 63 percent, down from an average of 68 percent. Teen spending is down 2.4 percent year-over-year, while fashion spending is down 2.2 percent. For the top spending categories, food represents 24 percent of teen budgets, while apparel is second at 19 percent.
In apparel spending, athletic preferences continue to inch higher, but mostly likely due to a lack of fashion trends in the product cycle outside of ath-leisure. Piper Jaffray noted that the fastest-growing brand in its survey is Adidas, while Patagonia was a surprise this year, ranking sixth among upper-income males. Brands that have been higher on the category lists that are losing market share include: Under Armour, Michael Kors, The North Face, Ralph Lauren and Vineyard Vines.
The number-one connected device among all teens was the Fitbit band, while the Fitbit app also ranked first. In both the device and app categories, Apple ranked second.
The survey also found that Amazon, at 43 percent, is the favorite shopping web site among teens, although that could also be due to them using their parents’ Prime membership accounts.
Teens also said Snapchat and Instagram were their favorite platforms, but Facebook also had a high teen engagement level. Eighty-one percent of teens said they expect their next phone to be a iPhone, up from 79 percent in the fall 2016 survey.