Investment bank Piper Sandler Companies has completed its 42nd semi-annual Taking Stock With Teens survey in partnership with DECA. The survey highlights discretionary spending trends and brand preferences from 10,000 teens across 44 U.S. states with an average age of 15.8 years. The fall 2021 survey was conducted from August 17 to September 16. The highest number of responses coming from the South at 47% and 10% of responses coming from the Northeast. “Our Fall survey showed an acceleration in overall teen spending, up 6 percent year-over-year. Of note, clothing took the highest priority within the teen wallet share since fall 2014 at 22 percent, unseating Food. We saw a disproportionate gain in spending from upper-income females—with total fashion spending up 14 percent year over year. We believe apparel replenishment will continue into 2022 as the consumer continues to replenish,” said Erinn Murphy, Piper Sandler senior research analyst. The survey also reveals GenZ’s commitment to the environment, which they said was their top social issue. And, teens are staying connected—estimating they spend four hours a day on social media. Snapchat & TikTok are the top-two social media platforms, with Amazon as their favorite website. Other key findings include:

  • Teen spending increased slightly to $2,274 per year; seeing emergence of female-led spending cycle led by apparel
  • Clothing is the number one priority for the first time since 2014
  • Teens care about social/political issues naming the Environment as number one and Racial Equality as number two and Afghanistan as number three
  • Snapchat remains the leading (35 percent) favorite social media platform, followed by TikTok (30 percent); Instagram loses share as the third leading player
  • Nike is the number one apparel brand for teens and lulu gains 200 bps year over year; Nike is the number one footwear brand—up 500 bps year over year
  • In the next six months, 67 percent of teens plan to attend a sporting event
  • 38 percent of teens are currently part-time employed
  • 75 percent of teen households have been vaccinated against COVID-19