Rich Kids Are Buying Denim and Athleisure Apparel

— October 17, 2016

Upper-income teens are spending on denim and apparel in the athleisure category, according to Piper Jaffray.

The investment bank and asset management firm completed its 32nd semi-annual Taking Stock With Teens research survey, which highlights spending trends and brand preferences amongst 10,000 teens across 46 U.S. states.

Since the project began in 2001, Piper Jaffray has surveyed more than 140,000 teens and collected more than 37 million data points on teen spending in fashion, beauty and personal care, digital media, food, gaming and entertainment.

"While total spending among the teen demographic appears to be down slightly versus last year, we are encouraged that the upper-income teenagers in our survey are indicating more optimism and positive spending trends. This increase in spending among upper-income teens seems to be largely broad-based across fashion and beauty," said Neely Tamminga, Piper Jaffray senior research analyst.

Fall 2016 key findings

Fashion and beauty:

  • While overall teen spending is down compared to fall 2015, spending trends are encouraging among upper-income teens where total spending is indicated up 2.5 percent year-over-year. Historically, Piper Jaffray has observed that results from its upper-income survey set tend to lead overall spending.
  • Denim brands saw an uptick to 19 percent aggregated mindshare and showed up as a top trend among upper-income females for the second consecutive survey in a row.
  • Among upper-income teens, fashion athletic apparel is still on the rise with a new high of 35 percent share achieved with Nike, adidas and Under Armour gaining share.
  • The beauty category's wallet share among upper-income females reached 11 percent, the highest value seen in Piper Jaffray's survey history. Specialty store formats continue to outpace legacy channels for beauty.
Digital media, gaming, food and entertainment:
  • Restaurants represented 23 percent of overall spending for upper-income teens; teens are choosing limited-service concepts at nearly a 50 percent greater rate than full-service concepts. With that, teens consider the overall value equation versus price-alone when choosing preferred dining destinations, with the average check ranging from $5 to $17.
  • Amazon Prime adoption has grown across all income brackets in each of the past six surveys, most recently indicating Amazon Prime exists in 58 percent of households of the teens surveyed. This survey, along with other previous Piper Jaffray consumer surveys, suggests that there are 63 million to 66 million Prime households in the U.S.
  • For the first time in our survey, YouTube outpaced cable TV when teens respond to how they spend their time.
  • The only two categories that exceed male teen spending on video games (12 percent) are food (20 percent) and clothing (16 percent). Video game spending among males remains above survey history averages.
  • The most anticipated movies this year among teens are: 1) Fast 8; 2) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story takes the second seat; and 3) Beauty and the Beast. Overall Disney Studios' mindshare among teens is on the rise.


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