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Piper Sandler’s SemiAnnual Generation Z Survey among American teens shows Nike to be the top brand for footwear and apparel. Lululemon, Coach, and Michael Kors also scored high.

The survey, now in its 43rd anniversary, highlights consumer spending trends and brand preferences of 7,100 teens from 44 states. Their average age is 16.2 years.

Our Spring survey revealed an increase in overall teenage spending of 9 percent, up from last year. “Note that the growth in fashion spending continues to be led by females (clothing +15%, footwear +16%), but also in the shift towards digital, with 95 percent of upper-income females shopping online, compared to 91 percent for males,” stated Nicole Miller Regan senior research analyst.

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The core beauty wallet (cosmetics skincare, and fragrance) was at 264 dollars. This is an increase of 10 percent. The daily makeup use by female teens continues to rise.

Athletic is still the most popular trend in apparel with Nike and Luulemon reaching new heights. Importantly, 44% of teens with higher incomes preferred brands that were ‘athletic’, a survey record since Spring 2017. This is a significant increase from the previous 41%. Converse topped the footwear category, with Nike still reigning, supreme took 2 spots from Vans, Crocs climbed ranking, Hey Dude reached the top 10, at No. 9.

Coach regained its No. Since the mid-2010s, Coach has been ranked No. 1 as a preferred brand for handbags. Michael Kors was ranked No. 2, ahead of Louis Vuitton. It is important to note that there is a change in the silhouette with looser-fitting denim or flared jeans. However, this trend is expanding to leggings according to some responses such as ‘flared leggings’.

The key findings

  • Teenagers spend 7 percent of their time shopping for secondhand, and 46 percent have bought secondhand. 56 percent have sold secondhand.
  • The mindshare of athletic brands was 44%, the highest percentage in Piper Sandler’s survey.
  • 60% of women read the ingredients in beauty products. 58 percent would rather pay more for science-backed products, while 88 percent would prefer “clean”.

“GenZ is a conscious generation. Teens this spring cited Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as their top concern. The Environment was pushed to No. 2. The No. 1 concern was gas prices 4 concern and, when added to inflation, would have ranked No. 1.”

As TikTok has become the most popular social media platform among teens, they continue to spend around four hours per day on social media. Amazon remains the No. 1 website, but it did see its mindshare drop Y/Y due to female teens’ mindshare dropping 1,200bps Y/Y. It is interesting to note that 26 percent of teens have a Virtual Reality device. However, only 17 percent use it on an average week.

Piper Sandler Taking Stock With Teens surveys reveal discretionary spending patterns, fashion trends, and brand, and media preferences. The survey was conducted by surveying a subset of high schools in the U.S. More than 218,900 teens have been surveyed since 2001. The survey has collected over 54 million data points about teen spending.