What is Generation Z spending on?

By Rieva Lesonsky

One of my favorite things—the Piper Jaffray Taking Stock With Teens® survey from investment bank Piper Jaffray—is out with its 35th semi-annual report. Since millennials have essentially aged out of the teen demo, this is a report about Generation Z.

The spring survey shows teens are spending once again—overall spending is up 6% from last fall’s survey and 2% from spring 2017. Most of their money is going towards buying food, beauty products and video games. In fact, food has reclaimed its position as the #1 item they’re spending money on.
What else are teens buying?

  • While clothing still ranks high for boys, they’re buying more video games than ever before.
  • For girls, beauty spending has hit a new high ($368 a year). This is up 22% from Piper Jaffray’s fall survey and up 4% from last spring’s. Skincare is leading the category; spending on skincare products is up 18% from spring 2017.
  • Spending on streetwear is accelerating, while athletic wear is still doing better than average. And 1990s fashions are apparently making a comeback. (Did they ever go away?).
  • Teens are shopping less in department and specialty stores, and more online, which is good news for small ecommerce businesses.

Want to reach teens on social media? You’ll find most of them on Snapchat (45%) and Instagram (26%), followed by Twitter (9%) and Facebook (8%).

As for where else to find them, teens are watching Netflix (39%), YouTube (30%) and cable TV (20%). If your business targets local teens, cable TV advertising can be an affordable way to reach them; if you sell online, consider creating YouTube videos or advertising on the video-sharing platform.