Just as marketers started to get the hang of this newfangled “millennial” crowd, the next generation comes along to shake things up with different values, preferences and spending patterns.
C’est la vie.
You can tell they’re the new generation on the block since no one has settled on a single name for them. Some call them Generation Z, some call them post-millennials.
Others prefer not to think of them at all.
The latter this isn’t an option for retailers and brands, however. By 2020, post-millennials are projected to make up some 40 percent of North America’s population. This crowd of young digital natives, who as of now are aged roughly 10 to 17, are already making waves in commerce, and their influence will only grow.
So what can we come to expect from these kids? For their part, investment bank and asset management firm Piper Jaffray Companies conducts a semi-annual survey to track teen spending patterns, fashion trends and brand and media preferences.
This time around, Piper Jaffray surveyed 5,500 teens with an average age of 16 from 43 different states in the U.S. Here are some of the key findings.
Overall spending among teens surveyed decreased 2.4 percent year over year, though spending was up 2.5 percent in the upper-income category. Likewise, parent contribution to teen spend has declined to 63 percent from the historical average of 68 percent. Spend on food and video games has continued its multi-year increase, while spend on fashion has declined.
Reported food spend was largely relegated to Chick-Fil-A (12 percent), which just recently edged out Starbucks (7 percent) for the number one spot among average-income teens. The two tied for first among upper-income teens.
“While the overall spending environment has been challenging, we are seeing teen spending continue to shift more toward experiences — eating out, video games and leisure,” said Erinn Murphy, Piper Jaffray senior research analyst. “Share of fashion spending has moderated, but we continue to see undisputed strength in athletic — Nike remains the number one preferred brand and Adidas was the fastest-growing brand in our survey.”
As for where they spend their money online, Amazon takes the lion share at 43 percent, with the number two spot held by Nike and American Eagle’s eCommerce sites, both with 5 percent.
Since Nike (31 percent) and American Eagle (10 percent) took the top two spots in teen’s referred fashion brands, this indicates that perhaps even highly brand-loyal post-millennials leverage Amazon for some of their apparel spend.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, post-millennials reported their preferred social media platforms to be the image-heavy Snapchat (39 percent) and Instagram (23 percent). Facebook (11 percent) and Twitter (11 percent) were still popular, though less so.
But the real surprise here comes from post-millennial media viewing numbers. Netflix reigns supreme in the video category, taking 38 percent of daily post-millennial video consumption. But YouTube (26 percent) just recently nudged out cable television (23 percent) for the number two spot.
Given that Google recently launched a new Youtube TV service, post-millennials will likely continue the move away from traditional cable television, just like those millennials before them. Networks signing on to YouTube TV could even regain some of their younger audiences by bringing content to where they’ll actually watch.
As for the mobile device teens prefer, the survey says it’s all about Apple. Some 81 percent of teens reported that they expect their next phone to be an iPhone — the highest rate Piper Jaffray has yet to record, and up from 79 percent in fall 2016.
Kids these days…