Teenagers spending less during pandemic

In the spirit of at some point entrepreneurial life will go on Piper Sandler (formerly Piper Jaffray) released its 39th semi-annual Taking Stock With Teens® survey (Spring 2020), reporting on the spending behaviors of America’s teens.

Overall, the news was not good. While Generation Z contributes about $830 billion to U.S. retail sales annually, teen spending decreased 13% year over year to $2,300—the lowest amount since the fall of 2011.

The survey is current—taken from February 17 to March 27, so many teens were quarantined at home during the survey period. The coronavirus was on their mind—it came in second when asked about the social/political issues they care about—the environment was their primary concern. What’s worse, 47% of teens think the economy is getting worse, compared to 28% a year ago.

So what are teens buying? Food continues to be the biggest item they spend money on—accounting for 25% of their overall spend. When it comes to fashion, they prefer to buy athletic brands, with Nike leading the way both for clothing and footwear.

Teen girls are spending less on cosmetics which hit a 10-year low coming in at $103 a year. Online influencers are the main “source of discovery” for beauty trends and brands for 78% of girls. Also hitting a survey low was handbags, which came in at an average spend of $89, compared to a survey high $197 in 2006.

Amazon is teens’ top e-commerce buying site.

Want to reach teens? Most are watching Netflix, which passed YouTube as the top daily video consumption channel and the new Disney+ debuted in the top 5. And of course they’re on social media—spending an average of 12 hours there. Their favorite platform is Instagram, followed closely by Snapchat. TikTok debuted on the survey in 3rd place, followed by Twitter and Facebook.

Teen stock photo by Samuel Borges Photography/Shutterstock