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Teen spending falls 9% as focus shifts to video games, online shopping: Survey

Teen spending fell 9% year-over-year, according to a Piper Sandler survey. Yahoo Finance's On the Move panel discusses.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: We want to talk about now a survey that is highly watched. It comes out twice a year. It comes out from Piper Jaffray, and it's about teen spending and teens' favorite brands. And the survey, this time around is the fortieth one they've done, shows that teen spending hit its lowest level in two decades. They did the survey in August and September and found that the spending this year was $2,150. That's a drop of 9%. So interesting here, Melody, always there's lots of interesting stuff to dig into here on what teens are spending and not spending on.

MELODY HAHM: Yeah, this Piper survey always fascinates me, because it just shows, yes, there is some divergence with older generations like Millennials, like Gen X and boomers, but at the same time, the thread is pretty much reflective of the overall economy. What I mean by that is second hand representing 8% of shopping time allocation really taking market share from those off priced specialty department stores, skincare sales have remained relatively steady. Although men, male teenagers, have spent 12% more on skincare year over year, so that's pretty fascinating to think about as we talk to entrepreneurs and executives in the skincare space, in the makeup space, all of these are pretty much reflective of what we've heard from our own guests.

Another interesting trend, 18% consumed plant based meat. Impossible Foods is the number one brand of choice for the teenagers that were surveyed. And then another kind of interesting nugget too is teens reported spending of just $87 on handbags. That is actually an all time low, but none of these sort of findings should come necessarily at such a surprise, right? Where are teens going? Where do they need handbags?

As well as shifting consumer behavior, you can track even older generations. Handbag sales are not as popular, right? People don't feel the need to be as flashy with that sort of merchandise, so again, very interesting and timely, but Julie, as your earlier point with the drop in total amount of purchasing power, that doesn't come as a surprise given the fact that we're in the thick of a financial crisis and a pandemic.

EMILY MCCORMICK: Melody, I would definitely echo a lot of what you had to say. And the other thing that really struck me about this survey was that it really reaffirmed the trends that we've seen in terms of the stay at home trade. I mean, we have the trends that were in were streaming video games, redecorating teens rooms for online education.

The trends that were out were dining out, public events like concerts, and we have wallet share contraction really reflecting that. We had food still the number one category as well as concerts and events still being popular but losing some of that wallet share for teens that were included in this survey. We should note that it was taken up between August 19 and September 22, so all of these trends reflected here still in the relative near term and still trends that we're seeing even as the pandemic is perhaps off the lows of what we saw during the spring as stay in place orders have abated a bit since the worst of what we saw earlier this year.

But continuing to see spending here on video games, again, movies. Within that, we actually saw video games at 10% of total teen wallet share for a new survey high. And just bringing that back out to what that might mean for individual stocks, we have companies like Activision Vision potentially getting a boost here because of the popularity of "Call of Duty." We saw that spiking in the survey to 62% of teens from 33% and spring of 2020, taking a look at that specifically. So I think a lot of this, again, reaffirming the stay at home trade, reaffirming a lot of the stocks included in that, including names like Amazon, of course, still the most widely used online retailer at 54% of respondents. So again, a lot of the winners that we've seen for the year to date in the stock market getting included in Piper's survey.

MELODY HAHM: Yeah, Emily, Julie, I think what's particularly interesting to me is the number one spots have pretty much stayed unchanged, right? Those that had been market leaders continue to gain market share, to Emily's point, Amazon remains number one. But number two is quite fascinating. It's a site called Shine, which is actually a China based retailer, fast fashion, sort of a hybrid of H&M, ASOS, Urban Outfitters, where it's things you can buy for cheap that are very trendy.

And then when you look at the social space, Snapchat still remains number one among teens. Number two, of course, is TikTok. So as much as the Trump administration, as much as all of our government officials can say that we want to sort of uncouple ourselves from China, from the global market, it just shows that China makes a good product, right? There's that demand even here domestically, so we should expect TikTok, Shine, all those sites continue to actually gain traction regardless of sort of the rhetoric coming out of the administration.