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Brief Published: 24 Apr 2017

Teen Spending Habits Revealed in US Survey

Nearly a quarter (24%) of US teens' budget is spent on food from popular coffee and eatery chains

Teens spend less in stores and more on food, according to a semi-annual spending report by US investment bank and asset management firm Piper Jaffray. 

The Taking Stock with Teens spring survey highlights the spending trends and brand preferences of a diverse subset of 5,500 US teens from high schools across 43 states. Highlights include:

  • Trending Food: An analysis of spending patterns found that food accounts for the biggest dent in teens’ wallets. Nearly a quarter (24%) of their budget is spent on food from popular coffee and eatery chains, compared to 19% spent on apparel. Starbucks and fast-food chicken restaurant Chick-fil-A feature on the list of popular food hangouts. 
  • Online Spend: Teens burn a significant portion of their money online on sites such as Amazon. The global e-tailer emerged as the top retail site, with a 43% share of teens’ online spending.
  • Tech: iPhones and video-game consoles are among the tech gadgets most desired by respondents. Some 81% said they expected their next handset to be an iPhone – the highest percentage ever recorded in the history of the survey. The number planning to download digital games also increased – from 37% in autumn 2015, to 45% this spring.

For more insight into what’s driving teen consumer trends today, see Gen Z: Smart Kids Take Control.