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Nike, Coach, Lululemon rated top brands by US teens

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Image: Lululemon

Piper Sandler’s Semi-Annual Generation Z Survey of American teens shows Nike as top footwear and apparel brand of choice. Coach, Michael Kors and Lululemon also score high.

Now in its 43rd year, the survey highlights discretionary spending trends and brand preferences from 7,100 teens across 44 U.S. states with an average age of 16.2 years.

“Our Spring survey showed an acceleration in overall teen spending, up 9 percent on last year. Of note, females continue to lead the growth in not only fashion spending (clothing +15 percent, footwear +16 percent), but also continue to lead in the shift to digital with 95 percent of upper-income females shopping online vs 91 percent of males," said Nicole Miller Regan, senior research analyst.

Additionally, the core beauty wallet (cosmetics, skincare, fragrance) stood at 264 dollars, up 10 percent, led by fragrance (up 33 percent YOY). Female teens everyday use of makeup also continues to trend upward.

Within apparel, athletic is still the dominant trend with Nike and lululemon taking new highs. Importantly, 44 percent of upper-income teens preferred apparel brands that are 'athletic,' a new survey high since Spring 2017 at 41 percent. Within footwear, while Nike reigns supreme, Converse took the No. 2 Spot from the Vans, Crocs increased ranking, and Hey Dude made the top 10 at No. 9.

Coach took back its No. 1 ranking as a preferred handbag brand since the mid-2010s while Michael Kors came in at No. 2, above Louis Vuitton. Importantly, there is a silhouette change with looser fitting or flared denim, however this trend is spreading to leggings according to responses, such as 'flared leggings.'

Key findings

  • Teens allocate 7 percent of their shopping time to secondhand and 46 percent of teens have purchased, while 56 percent have sold secondhand.

  • Athletic brands mindshare accounted for 44 percent of teens’ favorite apparel brand – the most ever in Piper Sandler’s survey.

  • 60 percent of females read ingredients in beauty products. 88 percent would pay more for “clean” and 58 percent would pay more for “science-backed”.

“GenZ is known to be a conscious generation, and teens this spring cited the Russian invasion of Ukraine as their top concern, pushing the Environment to No. 2. Gas prices showed up as the No. 4 concern, and when combined with inflation, would have ranked No. 1."

Teens continue to spend roughly four hours a day on social media as TikTok surpassed Snapchat as their favorite social media platform for the first time. While Amazon still remains the No. 1 website—it did see mindshare slip Y/Y driven by female teens’ mindshare dropping 1,200 bps Y/Y. Interestingly, 26 percent of teens own a Virtual Reality device, however just 17 percent use it on a weekly basis.

The Piper Sandler Taking Stock With Teens survey shows discretionary spending patterns, fashion trends, technology, and brand and media preferences assessed through surveying a geographically diverse subset of high schools across the U.S. Since the project began in 2001, more than 218,900 teens have been surveyed, collecting over 54 million data points on teen spending.