By Rieva Lesonsky


PiperJaffray is back with its semiannual Taking Stock with Teens report, which tracks teen purchasing behavior. Of course, today’s teens (mostly Gen Z) have an impact on what other generations spend money on. Here are some highlights:

Overall teen spending is down 4.4% year-over-year. Teens report spending $2,45o annually on themselves. And as a group, Gen Z contributes $830 billion to the U.S. economy (7%). The fall report shows spending is slightly down for video games, moderately down for food (which has been a highlight the last few years) and slightly up for clothes. Food spending came in at 22% (down from 24% in the spring 2017 report). Buying clothes is number-one for girls, while boys spend the most on food.

Specifically, when it comes to clothing, athletic footwear is still selling well, though athletic clothing spending is “moderating.” Teens are embracing “streetwear,” such as Vans, when it comes to clothing purchases.

While some consumers reportedly are turning away from iPhones, teens are embracing them: 82% expect their next phone to be an iPhone—the highest ranking for iPhones ever in a PiperJaffray report.

Their social medium of choice is Snapchat—47% of teens use it, up 12% in the past year, followed by Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

When they go shopping, 23% of teens prefer shopping at specialty retailers (good news for small retailers), but 17% say they prefer to shop online only. Like everyone else, 49% (up 9% in a year) claim Amazon as their favorite website, reminding small retailers once again about  the importance of operating an Amazon store.

Upper-income teens (HHI $101k) prefer to eat at (in order) Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts. Average-income teens ($55k HHI) share the love for Starbucks (#1), Chick-fil-A (#2) and McDonalds (#3), but add Olive Garden (#4) and Buffalo Wild Wings (#5).


You can access the presentation or view the infographic.