Piper Sandler Completes 42nd Semi-Annual Generation Z Survey of 10,000 U.S. Teens

  • 21 years of research U.S. teens GenZ insights
  • Overall teen “self-reported” spending increased slightly to $2,274 per year; seeing emergence of female-led spending cycle led by apparel
  • Clothing is the No. 1 priority for the first time since 2014, wallet priority at 22%
  • Teens care about social/political issues naming Environment as No. 1 & Racial Equality as No. 2; Afghanistan as No. 3
  • Snapchat remains No. 1 (35%) favorite social media platform, followed by TikTok (30%); Instagram loses share as the No. 3 player
  • Nike is No. 1 apparel brand for teens and LULU gains 200 bps Y/Y; Nike is the No. 1 footwear brand—up 500 bps Y/Y
  • In the next six months, 67% of teens plan to attend a sporting event
  • 38% of teens are currently part-time employed
  • 75% of teen households have been vaccinated against COVID-19

MINNEAPOLIS--()--Piper Sandler Companies (NYSE: PIPR), a leading investment bank, has completed its 42nd semi-annual Taking Stock With Teens® survey in partnership with DECA. This survey highlights discretionary spending trends and brand preferences from 10,000 teens across 44 U.S. states with an average age of 15.8 years.

This year’s Fall 2021 was conducted from August 17 to September 16; 96% of teens have returned to school in either a hybrid format or in person this Fall while 4% remained fully virtual. We received the highest amount of responses from the South at 47% of the mix and 10% of the responses from the Northeast—similar to Spring 2021 and Fall 2020 surveys.

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

“Our Fall survey showed an acceleration in overall teen spending, up 6% year-over-year. Of note, clothing took the highest priority within the teen wallet share since Fall 2014 at 22%, unseating “Food”. We saw a disproportionate gain in spending from upper-income females—with total fashion spending up 14% Y/Y. Within apparel, athletic is still the dominant trend with Nike and lululemon taking new highs. Within footwear, while Nike reigns supreme, Converse and Crocs gained share whereas Vans slipped. Michael Kors took back its No. 1 ranking as a preferred handbag brand. Simultaneously, we are seeing a silhouette change with looser fitting denim, high-waisted mom jeans. We believe apparel replenishment will continue into 2022 as the consumer continues to replenish.

“GenZ is a conscious generation and teens this Fall survey cite the Environment as their top social issue. Second-hand is now second nature to teens and 62% of teens have sold second-hand and 51% have purchased second-hand.

“With 91% of teens coming back to school in-person, we are not surprised to see time allocation in mall-based specialty pick up. Still, teens are staying connected—estimating they spend 4 hours a day on social media. Snapchat & TikTok are the top-two social media platforms. While Amazon remains the No. 1 website—it did see mindshare slip year-over-year as female-centric websites like SHEIN are on the rise,” said Erinn Murphy, Piper Sandler senior research analyst.

Fall 2021 Key Findings

  • +MSD growth Y/Y in apparel & footwear spend (led by females); female spending on accessories +10% Y/Y
  • Clothing (22% of wallet share) is the No. 1 priority for the first time since Fall 2014—surpassing Food at No. 2 (21% share)
  • Areas of slight wallet share contraction Y/Y included: Video Games, Movies & Personal Care
  • Spending within beauty is evolving, with sequential build for haircare (+8%) and fragrance (+14%) while skin and cosmetics lag
  • Teens allocate 8% of their shopping time to secondhand; 51% of teens have purchased & 62% have sold secondhand
  • Chick-Fil-A is No. 1 restaurant for all teens; Starbucks remained No. 2 (+100 bps of share Y/Y); Chipotle No. 3 (5% share)
  • 14% of teens consume plant-based meat with Impossible Foods as No. 1 (40% share) & Beyond Meat No. 2 (31%)
  • Video games are 8% of teen wallet share vs. 10% LY; 52% expect to purchase a NextGen console
  • Teens spend 32% of their daily video consumption on Netflix followed by YouTube (30%); Hulu & Other streaming gain
  • Cash is (still) king for teens as top payment method followed by Apple Pay
  • PYPL’s Venmo again ranked #1 with teens for payment apps, and its “Pay in 4” is teens’ top buy now pay later offering
  • 9% of teens claim to have traded cryptocurrency; 78% of these teens are male
  • 52% of teens cite Amazon as their No. 1 favorite e-com site (down 200 bps Y/Y); SHEIN took No. 2 spot (9% share; +400 bps Y/Y)
  • Crocs, PacSun, Hey Dude, Zara, SHEIN, Gymshark are all fashion brands gaining share, Under Armour & Vans had mixed results
  • Ulta gained 400 bps share Y/Y as No. 1 beauty destination with 46% share; Sephora No. 2 at 21% share
  • Handbag spending improved to $96—up 10% Y/Y and up 3% sequentially, Michael Kors back in No. 1 spot
  • 87% of teens own an iPhone and 88% expect an iPhone to be their next phone; Apple is No. 1 watch brand for first time
  • Snapchat is the favorite social media platform (35% share) followed by TikTok (30%) & Instagram (22%, -300 bps Y/Y)
  • Significant movement in top social & political issues led by Environment, Racial Equality & Afghanistan
  • Teens’ favorite celebrity is Adam Sandler and favorite influencer is Emma Chamberlain (unseating David Dobrik)

The Piper Sandler Taking Stock With Teens® survey is a semi-annual research project that gathers input from 10,000 teens with an average age of 15.8 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 211,800 teens and collected over 49.7 million data points on teen spending.


Piper Sandler Companies (NYSE: PIPR) is a leading investment bank 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. Alternative asset management and fixed income advisory services are offered through separately registered advisory affiliates.

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Pamela Steensland
Tel: 612 303-8185

Release Summary

Piper Sandler Completes 42nd Semi-Annual Generation Z Survey of 10,000 U.S. Teens



Pamela Steensland
Tel: 612 303-8185