October 22, 2021 11:19 pm

Teens Are Buying More Clothes. Nike Remains the Top Brand

For America’s teenagers, bulking up their postpandemic wardrobes is their priority, a new survey by Piper Sandler found. It’s the first time since 2014 that clothing has been the No. 1 concern for teens.

Piper’s biannual survey talks to 10,000 teenagers across 44 states. It has long been crucial for discerning teenage preferences for technology products, retailers, cosmetics, restaurants and more. Twenty-two percent of the survey’s respondents said they had spent money on clothes. Food was No. 2 at 21%.

Clothing remained more important for female respondents to the survey. Twenty-nine percent of women and 16% of men called clothing a priority. Even for men, it was second-most important spending category after food.

Apparel spending was up 5% year-over-year, New Jordan according to the survey. Women, especially, were spending close to prepandemic levels. The female fashion spend was up 14% compared with last year. Upper-income teenage girls spent an average of $1,124 on apparel, footwear, and accessories.Amazon was listed as teens’ favorite e-commerce site, garnering 52% of wallet share. Despite teens’ love for Amazon, online shopping dropped to 20% of respondents, down from 22% last fall when more pandemic restrictions were in place. Specialty retail was the most prominent shopping channel. Thirty percent of teens bought clothes at specific stores.

Nike remained the No. 1 brand in apparel for both male and female teenagers for the 11th year. It captured 27% of teens–the same figure as the last survey. Runner-up American Eagle trailed significantly behind, with only 7% of teenagers saying it was their favorite brand. PacSun, Adidas, and Lululemon also made the top five brands, with 5% of teens preferring them.

American Eagle’s business model is oriented toward this precise demographic. The brand says it seeks to “continue to lead the 15–25-year-old lifestyle retail market.” Even though American Eagle reported record sales of $1.2 billion for its second quarter and consistently good results, the stock has been sliding in recent months. It dipped an additional 4% Tuesday. Air Jordan 1 Fearless  dominated the Piper Sandler rankings for preferred footwear. It was 57% of teens’ favorite shoe brand, taking substantial shares from Vans (11%) and Adidas (9%), which clocked in at second and third place, respectively.

For Nike, Generation Z is already a key part of the company’s strategy, tailoring brand campaigns “really close to where that Gen Z consumer is,” said Chief Executive Officer John Donahoe in a first-quarter earnings call in August. Nike stock was rallying Tuesday, inching up 1.6%.

Clog manufacturer Crocs jumped to its highest ranking ever at sixth place in what Piper Sandler analyst Erinn Murphy called an “impressive” leap from ninth place in last year’s survey. Teens have been an increasingly key demographic for the shoe producer in recent years. The stock has increased by 66.6% in the last six months as the company beat earnings estimates.

Accessible luxury brands like Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, Coach, and Kate Spade were teen favorites for handbags and other accessories, the survey found. That was a win for the Coach and Kate Spade parent company Tapestry. Splurging on handbags increased to $96, up 10% year-over-year and reversing a multiyear low. Results indicated that New Air Force 1 although female respondents were spending less on makeup and beauty brands, the number of teens that wear makeup “everyday” increased to 33% of respondents, marking a 11% year -over-year increase. Analysts calculated that everyday makeup wearers spend an average of $129 a year on cosmetics. Favorite brands included Maybelline, elf, Tarte, L’Oréal, and Too Faced.

For male respondents, spending for videogames and systems came in third with 14% of respondents choosing it as a priority. Teens are expected to spend an average of $209 on videogames during 2021, down from $227 last fall. Analysts believe the decrease may be due to spending more time outside now that stay-at-home orders have been mostly lifted.

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