If the Teens Aren’t Buying Stuff, What Are They Doing With Their Money?

Teens have money. Where are they spending it?

Some teens who have oney t

It’s always nice to check in and see what the teens are up to these days. Right now, teens have jobs which means they also have money. Surely the teens can save retail, which is dying a slow death, because if there’s one thing teens like it’s buying stuff like it’s going out of style.

Not so much, according to this blog post that is really just another take on the whole “retail is dying and what on earth will we do without it” angle, filtered through the lens of the youth and their disposable income.

The recently-released annual survey “Taking Stock of Teens” by research firm Piper-Jaffray paints a picture of the contemporary teen through their purchases. It turns out that even though the Teens are making money, they’re not spending it in the way we’re used to seeing.

Retail sales and other economic indicators have marched together for decades, reflecting the idea that the more people were employed and the more money they made, the more they would spend on sneakers and jeans. Ditto for consumer confidence (if people felt good about the economy, they would spend more).

Teens are spending more money on food and snacks and things and less so on clothes and shoes. If they do happen to spend money on clothes and shoes, they’re not doing it at the mall —remember, those are dying — but they are buying stuff online, like the rest of us.

More than 40 percent said Amazon was their preferred website, while Nike came in a distant second in votes for favourite online shopping destination, at 5 percent.

The youth of America value “experiences over things,” which means that their money is going to said experiences: food costs money and so do things like concert tickets and uh ,other stuff that I can’t think of because I’ve aged out of the demographic where spending money on something that isn’t takeout and a quiet night in total silence feels like less of a priority.

Instead of blaming online shopping directly for this decline, the Business of Fashion infers that maybe the teens don’t need to buy stuff because of apps and filters and Snapchat and social media.

It’s perhaps no surprise that spending on fashion is down as Snapchat overtakes Facebook and Instagram as social platform du jour — more than 80 percent of teens surveyed by Piper Jaffray use Snapchat at least once per month, compared to 51 percent who use Facebook. If teens can just use filters and photo editing to change the way they look and impress their friends for free, then why would they have to shell out real money to buy clothes and shoes at real stores to show off?

I’d argue that the ability to filter a selfie to make it look like you’re a hot puppy and send it to your friends on Snapchat isn’t meant to “impress friends” and is probably not the reason teens aren’t buying clothes and shoes at “real stores” for “showing off.”

If we’re going to play along, what are the children doing with their money? Are they saving it? Playing the stock market? Are they buying weed? Vapes? More drugs? Kombucha? Seltzer? Fitbits? It’s not that they’re not spending money! They’re just not doing it in a brick and mortar store, just like everybody else.