• Retail Dive

Gen Z favors Vans, Lululemon and Amazon


Dive Brief:
  • Vans is catching up to No. 1 Nike among teens with a 20% brand preference score and Lululemon garnered its best showing — No. 2 among athletic brands and No. 8 in apparel generally — in investment bank Piper Jaffray's latest Taking Stock With Teens survey, which was emailed to Retail Dive. Adidas lost share sequentially in most key categories, but held onto its No. 3 spot in both apparel and footwear, according to the semi-annual survey of 8,000 teens with an average age of 16 years.

  • In beauty, specialty retailer Ulta overtook Sephora as teens' preferred destination for the first time, taking the top spot, and 90% of young women preferred stores rather than online. Most (80%) young beauty consumers are taking guidance from influencers, with Kylie Jenner and James Charles showing up as social media favorites, and Mario Badescu rose again this round, from No. 6 a year ago to No. 2. Beauty unicorn Glossier made the top 10 on the "destination" list, but in last place. Favored brands are Tarte, Too Faced and MAC.

  • Half the teens ranked Amazon as their preferred shopping site, up from 44% a year ago, Piper Jaffray also found. In another study from performance marketing agency CPC Strategy, 72% of female Gen Z shoppers start their shopping searches on Amazon, demonstrating how they value the e-commerce giant for discovery, according to an email to Retail Dive.

Dive Insight:

Americans in the Z generation — whom Piper Jaffray defines as those ages 13 to 19 — are collectively spending some $77 billion a year, based on teens' claim through the survey that they spend $2,600 each annually, on average.

Young men prioritize food (and after that, video games) and young women prioritize apparel, with footwear gaining space in their wallets as accessories notched a new low. "Our Spring Teen Survey further validated several characteristics of this digitally-native demographic; 83% of teens have an iPhone, 50% claim Amazon as their favorite website and video game consumption hit an all-time high in our survey," Erinn Murphy, Piper Jaffray senior research analyst, said in a statement. "Broadly, casualization of fashion continues and footwear is gaining wallet share."

A stark finding in the research is the extent to which Gen Z cares about the society around them, and Piper Jaffray researchers, who, for the first time, asked teens what social or political cause they care about most, noted that, "This could be a powerful generation. ... We were surprised that 90% of teens cited a political or social cause they were passionate about — immigration & climate change are top-of-mind but racism, gun control & gender equality all ranked highly," according to the report.

Most reports on this cohort note how it's mobile-first, and Piper Jaffray says the average teen in the survey "was just four years old when the original iPhone was introduced." Now most own one: iPhone ownership was up slightly at 83%, the highest recorded, with 86% saying their next phone will be an iPhone, flat from the fall. But also flat is their intent to purchase on their phones.

The teens say their favorite social media site is Snapchat, but they use Instagram most often. That's good news for owner Facebook, in light of the fact that teen engagement on Facebook itself is flattening, according to the report.


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