Nike is the most popular footwear and clothing brand among American teenagers, according to Piper Sandler’s semi-annual Generation Z Survey. Coach, Michael Kors, and LuluLemon all rank highly.

Now in its 43rd year, the survey highlights discretionary spending trends and brand preferences from 7,100 teens across 44 U.S. states with an average age of 16.2 years.

“Our Spring survey showed that overall teenage spending had increased 9 percent compared to last year. Females continue to lead not only in fashion expenditure (clothing +15 percent, footwear +16 percent) but also in the shift to digital, with 95 percent of upper-income females buying online vs 91 percent of males,” Nicole Miller Regan, senior research

The company’s skincare segment, once the second largest in the industry behind Estee Lauder, is also continuing to grow. Additionally, the core beauty wallet (cosmetics, skincare, fragrance) was 264 dollars in 2018, up 10 percent from a year ago. Female adolescents’ use of cosmetics has been increasing over time as well.

The athletic trend continues to be the most popular in apparel, with Nike and lululemon setting new highs. Importantly, when it comes to clothing brands for upper-income teens, 44 percent preferred those that were ‘athletic,’ up from 41% in Spring 2017. In footwear, while Nike maintains its top position, Converse rose.

Coach reclaimed its No. 1 ranking as a preferred handbag brand since the mid-2010s, while Michael Kors took second place above Louis Vuitton. Importantly, there’s a silhouette shift with looser fitting or flared denim, but it’s gaining traction among leggings in responses like ‘flared leggings.’

When it comes to beauty, Kylie Jenner’s Lip Kit, which was the most popular item in 2015 and 2016, is no longer on teens’ radar. They are now more interested in hair care items, skincare items, and affordable makeup brands like ColourPop.

Key findings

  • Teens allocate 7 percent of their shopping time to secondhand and 46 percent of teens have purchased, while 56 percent have sold secondhand.
  • “The rise of the resale economy is being driven by a new generation of shoppers who are comfortable with the idea of wearing previously-owned clothing and see it as a more sustainable way to shop,” said Erin Kurtzman, partner and head
  • Athletic brands mindshare accounted for 44 percent of teens’ favorite apparel brand – the most ever in Piper Sandler’s survey.
  • 60 percent of females read ingredients in beauty products. 88 percent would pay more for “clean” and 58 percent would pay more for “science-backed”.

“GenZ is known to be a conscious generation, and teens this spring cited the Russian invasion of Ukraine as their top concern, pushing the Environment to No. 2. Gas prices showed up as the No. 4 concern, and when combined with inflation, would have ranked No. 1.”

Teens spend around four hours a day on social media, with TikTok surpassing Snapchat as their preferred social networking platform for the first time. While Amazon has yet to relinquish its No. 1 position—it did see mindshare decrease Y/Y driven by female teens’ mindshare dropping 1,200 bps Y/Y — 26%

The Piper Sandler Taking Stock With Teens survey, which was conducted by the National Foundation for Consumer Information and Research in cooperation with Bank of America and Visa, examines teens’ spending habits, fashion trends, technology, and brand and media preferences. Since its inception in 2001, more than 218,900 high school students have been interviewed.

The average American teenager spends $2,700 annually, with $1,200 of that going towards clothes and accessories.