Teen Brands Revealed, Fashion Purchases Decline

A challenging economy and low consumer confidence has led to a dramatic 14 percent decline in fashion spending, according to the 'Taking Stock with Teens' survey from Piper Jaffray. The 17th semi-annual survey uncovers purchasing behavior and brand preferences among teens.

The survey results indicate that spending in the junior apparel category has decreased 19 percent, but increased 9 percent for footwear and 8-percent for accessories. Footwear posted the strongest year-over-year and sequential results at a 4 percent and 21 percent gain respectively - an indication that the strong footwear cycle, particularly relative to the weakness in apparel, continues for the youth demographic.

"After the drop in teen spending stabilized last fall, it is apparent that the continued challenges in the economy are having a dramatic impact on teen spending this spring and the 14 percent decrease is a direct reflection of this," says Jeff Klinefelter, senior research analyst, Piper Jaffray. "The decrease in spending leads us to believe that the economy is forcing parents and teens to cut back on spending across the board. Teens and their parents are still buying new clothes, footwear and accessories, but are more selective and increasingly price conscious. This will force retailers to discount prices and offer unique promotions to keep a steady flow of spending until the economy improves."

Other key findings from the survey in the fashion, beauty and personal care, video game, digital media and restaurant categories include the following:

West Coast Brands (Pacific Sunwear, Volcom, Quicksilver, Zumiez) took the No. 1 spot in clothing brand preferences among teens, followed by Hollister, Nike, Forever 21, and American Eagle. Specifically among brands ranked by young women, Hollister took the "most preferred" position, while West Coast Brands continued to remain a favorite among young men.

Beauty spending down from last year, but stabilizing from fall 2008 as lower-price categories of fragrance and cosmetics outpace skin care, and department stores continue to cede share to discount, drug, and specialty stores.

Survey results indicate video game spending is now 8 percent of teen budgets, which is up from 3 percent five years ago. The results also indicate 89 percent of teens own at least one video game console, while 59 percent own two consoles. Additionally, GameStop remains the retail destination of choice with 31 percent share, as teens utilize the company's trade-in model.

In digital music, 86 percent of students who own an MP3 player indicated that they own an iPod - up from 84 percent last fall. iTunes share also rose to 97 percent from 93 percent last fall. In addition, 8 percent of students indicate they own an Apple iPhone (up from 6 percent year-on-year), while 16 percent of students expect to buy an iPhone in the next 6 months.
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