Today’s Teen Trends

Today’s Teen Trends

What’s in this article:

  • A summary of the latest insights into teenager trends: favorite brands, social media platforms, and spending patterns
  • The key to successful targeting is not just to follow the trends but to anticipate which direction your audience will be taking in the future

If your target market includes teens, then you’d want to check out the latest insights into their favorite brands, social media platforms, and spending patterns.

Piper Sandler’s 41st Semi-Annual Taking Stock With Teens® Survey, Spring 2021 surveyed 7,000 teens across 47 U.S. states, representing an average household income of $76,750.

Spending in key categories shed light on who is winning teen business.

Food spending

Food is the top area for teen spending. Last year, it hit 25%, dropping to 21% this past Fall and rebounding this spring to 23%.

Their top 5  favorited places to eat are:

  1. Chick-Fil-A 18%
  2. Starbucks 12%
  3. Chipotle 11%
  4. Dunkin’ Donuts 4%
  5. McDonald’s (though it has lost market share) tied with In-N-Out Burger 3%

A significant 15% have tried alternative meats based on plants. Both Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat ranked equally as their top choice.

Their snack brand preferences are closer together in terms of percentages, though it does show that junk food still rules with the brands of choice made up of Lays 11%, Goldfish 9%, Cheez-It 8%, Doritos 6%, and Cheetos 5%.

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Clothing and shoes

When it comes to clothing and shoe brands, both Nike and Adidas make the top 5 list for both categories, but Nike dominates both. It gets 27% of the share in the clothing category and a whopping 56% in shoes. That puts it far ahead of the second-place brands in both categories.

For shoes, second place goes to Vans 12%, third to Adidas 9%, and fourth to Converse 6%. Footlocker just makes the top five with 2%.

For clothing, second place is held by American Eagle 7%, third by PacSun 6%, fourth by Lululemon 4%, and fifth by Adidas 4%.

Cosmetics and beauty

Teens show less marked loyalty to cosmetic brands than to their source for them. The top two brands – Tarte and e.l.f. – each garnered 10%, followed by Maybelline, which got 9%. The fourth and fifth brands, L’Oreal and Too Faced tied at 6%.

In contrast, the market domination for purchase source is much more distinct:

Ulta 46%, Sephora 24%, Target 9%, Walmart 5%, and Amazon 2%.

Online behavior

Don’t infer from the 2% share of Amazon in beauty that the online retailer is failing to reach the teen market. It is far and above the favored eCommerce for teens, cited by 56%. Second place – held by Shein – doesn’t even come close at 7%. Nike gets 5% and PacsSun 3%.

In addition to shopping online, teens consume a great deal of video content on a daily basis. Netflix at 32% is closely followed by YouTube at 31%. Hulu is far behind those two at 8%.

They may be consuming more videos through their favorite social media platforms.

Snapchat is the favorite at 31%, closely followed by TikTok by 30%. Third place goes to Instagram with 24%.

The top influencers that teens follow in order of are: David Dobrik, Emma Chamberlain, Kylie Jenner, LeBron James, and Danny Duncan.

As for the causes they rally around, racial concerns beat environmental concerns. Racial equality garnered 20%, environment 12%, Black Live Matter 6%, and equality 5%. Coronavirus also garnered 5%, but that percentage is bound to drop within the year.

The key to successful targeting is not just to follow the trends but to anticipate which direction your audience will be taking in the future.

For more details revealed by the survey, see the infographic posted.

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