Teens are experiencing mall fatigue; they’re shopping less overall and shifting what they do spend to the online channel, according to the recent Taking Stock with Teens study by Piper Jaffray. About 8 in 10 teens already shop online and the trend is expected to continue with increased teen smartphone use.
The shift is causing brands to rethink how to reach their youngest customers in the apparel, beauty products, food and entertainment categories. Fashion is bearing the brunt of the change. While teens still apply $4 of every $10 of their spending money on apparel, outlays in this category have declined slightly from last year and the number of shopping trips have dropped by a quarter. Clothing labels still matter to teens, but they’re looking for deals to make smaller allowances go further. Single-brand stores like Abercrombie and Fitch are losing in popularity, while multi-brand stores and discount outlets like TJ Maxx are gaining ground; 6 in 10 boys and 7 in 10 girls shop at these off-price stores.
Because the opinions of their friends matter, more than half of teens said social media impacts their purchases. Twitter was rated the most important, followed by Facebook and Instagram. It’s notable that the popularity of Facebook continues to wane among Gen-Z, with only 23 percent calling it the most important social site, a huge drop from 42 percent a year ago.