Most Teens Shop Online, Yet They Prefer Brick-and-Mortar

Studies show teens prefer shopping in physical stores more than older generations do.

Author: Krista Garcia

October 24, 2018

No shock, the most popular shopping site with teens is practically everyone's favorite online retailer. Yes, Amazon.

Amazon receives 47% of teen spending share, according to a fall 2018 Piper Jaffray report "Taking Stock With Teens." Rounding out the top five retail websites are Nike (5%), American Eagle (3%), Urban Outfitters (3%) and PacSun (2%).

Online shopping is common among teens; 86% of upper-income females and 91% of males shopped digitally in fall 2018, an all-time high. But while many like to shop this way, they like to shop in-store, too. The behavior is higher among females (76%) than males (56%), per Piper Jaffray.

This mirrors earlier studies that have shown Gen Z (which includes teens) had a higher preference for shopping in brick-and-mortar stores than older generations.

The Piper Jaffray survey didn't probe into which specific retailers teens shopped at, but it did find that specialty retail, like an Under Armour or Brandy Melville, is greatly favored (74%) over legacy retail (19%), like department or drug stores. This is a relatively new development, since it was the reverse prior to spring 2015.

Teens say fashion is more important in making a purchase decision than brands, but that stance is weakening. This fall, 55% said fashion was the most important factor when making a purchase, down from 67% in 2013. Athleisure brands still appear to hold sway among teens; adidas, lululemon and Vans were all included in the top 10 "uptrending" brands mentioned by both males and females.

For more insights into teens' digital habits and behavior, look out for our new report "Digital Life of US Teens: Teens Text, Post, Snap, Game and View Video, and Their Favorite Device Is a Smartphone," coming out later this week.

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