Streetwear and beauty on the rise with Gen Z, says study

Investment bank Piper Jaffray released the results of its 35th semi-annual “Taking Stock With Teens” survey on Tuesday, revealing strong gains for the beauty sector and promising progress for streetwear and 90s fashion.


Vans has established itself as one of the top footwear brands among for Gen-Z consumers - Instagram: @vans
 
The report, which surveyed 6,000 teens with an average age of 16.4 years across 40 US states about spending patterns and brand preferences, revealed an overall increase of 6% in Gen-Z spending since fall 2017 and a 2% rise year-over-year.
 
While food stood out as the top category for consumers in the age range, accounting for 24% of total spending, Piper Jaffray’s spring 2018 findings also highlighted some interesting trends in the fashion and beauty sectors.
 
While for male Gen-Z consumers, spending on video games hit a 13% peak, climbing fast toward levels of spending on fashion in this demographic, female teens are increasingly investing in beauty products.
 
Spending in this category among female Gen-Z consumers was found to have risen to $368 per year, an 18% rise compared to this time in 2017, with skincare products at the head of the pack. Within the category, Neutrogena was found to be the favorite skincare brand (24%), while Sephora claimed the top spot among beauty destinations with a share of 44%.
 
The survey also provides data concerning specific apparel and footwear brands, with streetwear labels and 90s-inspired fashion demonstrating the largest growth in these sectors Vans, for example, has established itself as the second most popular footwear brand (16%), while Supreme has made significant gains to take seventh place in the apparel rankings, following on the heels of Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters.
 
Despite losses, Nike maintains its place as top apparel and footwear brand with 23% and 42% mindshare, respectively. Ralph Lauren, on the other hand, slipped out of the top ten clothing brands for males for the first time since 2002.
 
“We are seeing strong signs of a brand cycle led by 1990s and streetwear styles with adidas, Vans, Supreme and Tommy Hilfiger as the most notable positive brand movers,” explained Erinn Murphy, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffrey, in a release.
 
Gen Z’s preferred retail and marketing channels also came under the microscope. In contrast to claims made by some analysts that Gen-Z consumers prefer the experience of traditional retail to digital platforms, department stores and legacy channels were still found to be losing share to online retailers.
 
Among these digital platforms, the top e-commerce site was revealed to be Amazon (44%), while Nike trailed somewhat in second place with 6% share. eBay’s mindshare hit a new low of 1.8%, down from 3% in fall 2017.

As for Gen Z’s preferred social media channels, Snapchat (45%) and Instagram (26%) were firmly at the top, ahead of Twitter (9%) and Facebook (8%), indicating a clear direction for brands seeking to reach consumers from this age range through digital influencers.

With Gen Z currently contributing around $830 billion to US retail per year, according to figures published by Fung Global Retail & Technology and cited by Piper Jaffray, these insights into the demographic’s consumption habits are particularly valuable for companies looking to develop or adapt strategies for tapping into this growing market.

The full “Taking Stock With Teens” survey is available for consultation on Piper Jaffray’s website.
 

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