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  • Ella Verhoeven

Gen Z Halts Spending during Pandemic


Like the rest of the world, Gen Z has halted their spending during the coronavirus pandemic according to Piper Sandler’s 39th bi-annual survey “Taking Stock with Teens” survey.


This year’s spring survey captured the sentiment of over 5,200 US Gen Z from February 17 to March 27, 2020. The last three weeks of the survey covered an unprecedented time for both the US & Canada, with schools shut down to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.


Teens reported their annual spending was down 13% this spring to $2,300 compared with the same period last year, and down 4% from the fall 2019. This amount marks is the lowest spending level reported by teens since fall 2011.


Although total spending has declined for Gen Z, when they do go shopping, brands like Nike, Lululemon and Amazon are top on the list. While the guys are splurging on footwear, girls are spending less on handbags, cosmetics and apparel.


Food continues to be teen’s top ranked expenditure with 25% share of wallet share. Favourite food brands such as Chik-fil-A or Starbuck top the list with Chipotle in third place.


As for social media, TikTok made its survey debut as the third most used social media platform, surpassing Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest


Spending & Shopping Behaviour

· Food continues to be teens’ No. 1 spending category at 25% of wallet share, up from 23% in Fall 2019

· Amazon continues to climb as teens’ No. 1 preferred online shopping mindshare at 53% —10x higher than the No. 2 ranking, Nike

· Cosmetics spending for females hits 10-year low with spending down 26% Y/Y to $103/year

· 78% of female teens use online influencers as a source of discovery for beauty brands and trends

· Teens indicated they spend an average of $89/year on handbags — a new survey low and compares to peak spending of $197/year (Spring 2006)

· Average video game spend by teens over the past 15 surveys is $19

Brand Preferences

· Chick-fil-A remains No. 1 restaurant for 5 surveys; Starbucks retains double-digit share

· Kellogg most preferred snack brand among teens

· Ulta maintains No. 1 preferred beauty destination against Sephora for third survey in a row

· Netflix surpasses YouTube as No. 1 daily video consumption; Disney+ debuts in top 5 ahead of Amazon and Apple TV+

· 85% of teens own an iPhone and 88% expect an iPhone to be their next phone, both new all-time survey highs




* Source: Pipper Sandler

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