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Brief Published: 13 Oct 2014

US Teens Update

Piper Jaffray takes the pulse of the US teen market

US investment bank Piper Jaffray's biannual Taking Stock With Teens survey takes the pulse of the US teen market, highlighting the latest shopping behaviours and brand preferences among 13- to 19-year-olds.

Key trends included:

  • Ethical Fast Food: Teens are spending on average 20% of their money on food – up from 15% 10 years ago. According to the survey, Chipotle and Starbucks are among the highest-rated restaurants for high-income teens – ranking above fast-food chains such as McDonald's and Chick-Fil-A. Both Chipotle and Starbucks are heavily pushing their sustainability credentials – for more on how ethical eating is appealing to younger consumers, read Feeding Gen Y.

  • Super-Visual Social Networks: Instagram is now the leading social network among this hyper-visual demographic. Some 76% of US teenagers are members, a 7% increase from six months ago. Facebook suffered a striking fall in popularity among teens. Just 45% said they use the social networking site – down from 72% in the April edition of the survey. For more on the fall of Facebook, see US Teens & Social Media.

  • Fitness-First Fashion: Canadian activewear brand LuluLemon's yoga leggings were named as the top fashion item for teenage girls, closely followed by crop tops, high-waisted trousers and Nike shoes. "Sportswear influences have been filtering down from the fashion catwalks for a few seasons now," says Lisa Payne, assistant editor of Fashion & Beauty at Stylus. "Consumers no longer see sportswear as "downtime" wear. They are willing to pay high prices for good-quality sportswear, and wear it with the same pride as luxury pieces."

For more insights into today's teenagers, take a look at Gen Z: Tech Titans, or listen to our recent webinar, Future Consumers.