Piper Sandler Completes 39th Semi-Annual Generation Z Survey of 5,200 U.S. Teens

  • Overall teen “self-reported” spending decreased by 13% Y/Y & 4% sequentially to $2,300—the lowest level since fall 2011
  • Food continues to be teen’s No. 1 wallet priority at 25% share
  • Teens care about social/political issues naming the Environment as No. 1; Coronavirus took the No. 2 spot
  • 47% of teens believe the economy is getting worse—vs. 32% in Fall 2019 & 28% in Spring 2019
  • Athletic brands dominate fashion preferences with notable gains in lululemon (No. 6 apparel brand) and Nike (No. 1 apparel and footwear brand)
  • TikTok makes survey debut as No. 3 most used social media platform, surpassing Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest

TSWT Spring 20 Infographic (Graphic: Piper Sandler)

MINNEAPOLIS--()--Piper Sandler Companies (NYSE: PIPR), a leading investment bank and institutional securities firm completed its 39th semi-annual Taking Stock With Teens® survey, which highlights discretionary spending trends and brand preferences from 5,200 teens across 41 U.S. states with an average age of 16.2 years. Generation Z, which contributes approximately $830 billion to U.S. retail sales annually*, represents an influential consumer group where wallet size and allocation provide a proxy for category interest.

This year’s Spring 2020 survey was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was conducted from February 17 to March 27 with several teens taking it while quarantined at home – most notably during the last three weeks of the survey. Students answered the survey at home as part of an online learning module Piper Sandler incorporated with partner, DECA. Finally, we received lower responses from the Northeast – the part of the U.S. which has suffered the most from COVID-19.

For the survey infographic and more information, visit pipersandler.com/teens

“Our Spring Teen Survey was conducted during a time of significant upheaval as the world (and U.S. teens) grappled with the realities of COVID-19. In fact, we believe the majority of our responses came from teens taking the survey from their own homes. Not only was ‘Coronavirus’ listed as the No. 2 social/political concern among teens, but we saw a significant uptick of teens worried about the economy along with a corresponding 13% drop in ‘self-reported’ spending versus just last year,” said Erinn Murphy, Piper Sandler senior research analyst.

“Today’s teens are more connected than ever before—they spend an average of 12 hours on social media per week, 53% name Amazon as their top e-commerce site, Netflix is their go-to choice for daily content & 85% own an iPhone. As it relates to brand preferences, we continue to see casualization of fashion march higher—Nike gained share as the No. 1 brand & lululemon hit a new survey high as the No. 6 preferred brand.”

Spring 2020 Key Findings

Spending & Shopping Behavior

  • Food continues to be teens’ No. 1 spending category at 25% of wallet share, up from 23% in Fall 2019
  • Amazon continues to climb as teens’ No. 1 preferred online shopping mindshare at 53% —10x higher than the No. 2 ranking, Nike
  • Cosmetics spending for females hits 10-year low with spending down 26% Y/Y to $103/year
  • 78% of female teens use online influencers as a source of discovery for beauty brands and trends
  • Teens indicated they spend an average of $89/year on handbags — a new survey low and compares to peak spending of $197/year (Spring 2006)
  • Average video game spend by teens over the past 15 surveys is $197

Brand Preferences

  • Chick-fil-A remains No. 1 restaurant for 5 surveys; Starbucks retains double-digit share
  • Kellogg most preferred snack brand among teens
  • Ulta maintains No. 1 preferred beauty destination against Sephora for third survey in a row
  • Netflix surpasses YouTube as No. 1 daily video consumption; Disney+ debuts in top 5 ahead of Amazon and Apple TV+
  • 85% of teens own an iPhone and 88% expect an iPhone to be their next phone, both new all-time survey highs

The Piper Sandler Taking Stock With Teens® survey is a semi-annual research project that gathers input from 5,200 teens with an average age of 16.2 years. Discretionary spending patterns, fashion trends, technology, and brand and media preferences are assessed through surveying a geographically diverse subset of high schools across the U.S. Since the project began in 2001, Piper Sandler has surveyed more than 185,000 teens and collected over 46.2 million data points on teen spending.

* Source: Fung Global Retail & Technology

Piper Sandler Companies (NYSE: PIPR) is a leading investment bank and institutional securities firm driven to help clients Realize the Power of Partnership®. Securities brokerage and investment banking services are offered in the U.S. through Piper Sandler & Co., member SIPC and NYSE; in Europe through Piper Sandler Ltd., authorized and regulated by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority; and in Hong Kong through Piper Sandler Hong Kong Limited, authorized and regulated by the Securities and Futures Commission. Asset management products and services are offered through separate investment advisory affiliates.

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Pamela Steensland
Tel: 612 303-8185

Release Summary

Piper Sandler Completes 39th Semi-Annual Generation Z Survey of 5,200 U.S. Teens



Pamela Steensland
Tel: 612 303-8185