What Do Teens Want? Discounts and Unique Products

Teens devoted 13.8 percent of their e-commerce transactions in September to online discount retailers such as wish.com, fashionnova.com and a host of others that ship direct from China.

Online purchases accounted for 17.9 percent of transactions made by 13- to 18-year-old Current customers during the month of September, twice the rate at which the general population shops online. The most recent U.S. Census Bureau reports online purchases represent 8.6 percent of all U.S. retail transactions. Current makes a debit card and companion smartphone app for teens (and parents) that helps families with teenagers safely and conveniently manage money.

Spending on digital content accounted for 54 percent of online spending by 13- to 18-year-olds in September. Video games represented 39.3 percent, with streaming and online services representing 14.6 percent of online spending. The remaining 46 percent of purchases were a more traditional mix of consumer goods, including clothing, cosmetics, novelty items and accessories.

Teen confidence in online shopping for consumer goods extends across the retail landscape. It should come as no surprise that Amazon.com is the most frequented site, capturing 38 percent of teen online spending, excluding digital content. 

Teens also purchase directly from brand sites, especially when shopping for clothing and cosmetics. The web sites of clothing brands — led by Forever 21, Nike, Victoria's Secret, PacSun and Vans — accounted for 9.1 percent of online sales to teens, excluding digital content.

Cosmetics account for 7.7 percent of teen online spending in September, excluding digital content. The category was dominated by Sephora, which captured 5.4 percent of online purchases of cosmetics by teens.

Teens are also frequenting specialty retailers looking for discounts and unique items — sites their parents may not be familiar with. Online discount retailers such as wish.com, fashionnova.com and a host of online discount retailers that ship direct from China accounted for 13.8 percent of teen online transactions, excluding digital content. Wish.com was the clear leader, capturing 7.8 percent of online spending, second only to Amazon.com.

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