Vans, Ulta Beauty and Lululemon make gains with US teens
As athleticwear and beauty continue to be strong trends among Gen-Z consumers, investment bank Piper Jaffray has released its 37th semi-annual “Taking Stock With Teens” report, revealing strong progress for sportswear brands Vans and Lululemon, and cosmetics retailer Ulta Beauty.
The study, based on a survey of 8,000 teens with an average age of 16.3 across 47 US states, found that overall spending among Gen-Z shoppers is up 6% from fall 2018 and 1% from a year ago.
Among clothing brands, Nike still reigns supreme, named as the favorite brand of 22% of those surveyed, while American Eagle was the second most mentioned brand at 9%. Adidas and Forever 21 tied in third place with 5%, while Hollister came in fifth with 3%.
Lululemon reached an all-time high in the rankings, grabbing eighth place in the overall apparel classifications and second place among athleticwear brands.
Nike also topped the footwear charts with 41% mindshare, although Vans came closer than any other brand has in recent years to challenging this position with a personal best of 20%. Adidas (13%), Converse (5%) and Foot Locker (3%) rounded out the top five.
Across categories, Amazon was the preferred shopping website of half of all those surveyed, making it the uncontested leader among e-tailers. Nike trailed behind in second place with a comparatively paltry 5%, while Urban Outfitters was mentioned by 4% of those surveyed, American Eagle by 3% and Fashion Nova – making its first appearance in the top five – by 2%.
It’s worth noting, however, that successive studies – including a recent report from LIM College – have shown that Gen-Z consumers prefer the experience of shopping in brick-and-mortar stores to making purchases online, particularly when it comes to certain categories.
Indeed, an overwhelming 90% of female teens surveyed by Piper Jaffray said that they preferred shopping for cosmetics in store, rather than online. In this context, Ulta Beauty (33%) unseated rival Sephora (31%) as the favorite retailer in the category for the first time ever. Other beauty destinations lagged behind significantly, with Walmart being mentioned by 8% of survey respondents, Target by 6% and Amazon by 4%.
In terms of specific cosmetics brands, Tarte edged out Too Faced for the top spot, with 11% mindshare, over the latter’s 8%, while MAC (7%), Morphe (7%) and Maybelline (6%) duked it out for third place.
Reflecting a growing trend among younger consumers, 80% of survey respondents said that they use influencers as a source of beauty tips, with Kylie Jenner and James Charles being cited as current favorites.
The cosmetics industry may be booming, but fashion accessories hit an all-time low with teens in this latest survey, principally losing wallet share to footwear among female consumers. Nonetheless, within the category, the favorite handbag brand was Michael Kors – mentioned by 28% of those surveyed – followed by Kate Spade at 14%. It was a tie in third place once again, although here the battle was between Louis Vuitton and Coach, which both boasted 11% mindshare, just ahead of Gucci’s 8%.
With the economic clout of Gen Z growing rapidly, insights into the demographic’s evolving consumer behavior are increasingly valuable. According to figures from Fung Global Retail & Technology cited by Piper Jaffray, Gen Z currently contributes $830 billion to US retail sales annually.
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