What are teens spending their money on?

By Rieva Lesonsky

One of my favorite demographic research reports was just released—and as usual it contains a lot of truly useful information for small business owners who target the teen market. The spring 2016 Taking Stock with Teens, a semiannual report from Piper Jaffray, gets input from 6,500 teens (average age 16.5) and measures teen spending patterns, fashion trends and brand preferences.

Some highlights of the report include:

  • Overall, teens are spending less (down 4 percent) than they did last spring, but upper-income teens are spending 38 percent of their total outlay on clothes, accessories and footwear, up from 36 percent in 2015.
  • Denim is hot, particularly for upper-income teen girls who say it’s a “top trend.”
  • While fashionable athletic wear might be losing steam overall (or so says Bloomberg Businessweek), it’s still popular among teens.
  • Upper-income teen girls spent 10 percent of their total spend on beauty products, a 10-year high.
  • “Indie” beauty brands are popular.
  • When it comes to dining out, teens much prefer eating at limited-service restaurants to full-service ones. Upper-income teens spent 22 percent of their money at restaurants.
  • Teen boys spend most of their money on food (20 percent), clothes (15 percent) and video games (13 percent).

There are some great stats and other insights in the report—so be sure to check it out.