Purchasing Power of Teens

May 12, 2014
Consumer Kids-and-Teens Moms Trends

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The 25.6 million teens in the U.S. have a sizable say in what Mom picks up at the store, and they also have a sizable amount of money in their own pockets to spend — $91.1 billion, in fact. And when you look at youth as a whole (8-24 year olds), they carry a whopping $211 billion in spending power.

“When we look at what youth today personally own, it’s definitely more than the generation before them and immensely more than what kids owned two generations ago. What is also important to remember is that youths are not passive receivers of things,” said Regina A. Corso, Senior Vice President for Youth and Education Research at Harris Interactive. “Today’s youth actively have input into what they have and what their families have.”

Purchases Are Collaborative Decisions

Parents are increasingly letting kids dictate, or at least have a vote on, purchases ranging from breakfast food to large ticket items like TVs, cars and vacation destinations. “Decision-making within families today is almost entirely collaborative – and as kids become more influential, they’re impacting purchasing decisions,” says Christian Kurz, vice president of research at Viacom International Media Networks.

Girls tend to have more influence because they are more aware of items in the house and have more retail experience, says Renee Weber, VP Consumer Strategy & Research for The Marketing Store Worldwide. Older kids, not surprisingly, also have more influence because they have more knowledge and are able to form and state their opinions more clearly.

Teen Purchasing Power Fast Facts:

• 25.6 million: Number of teens in the U.S. (13-18 years old.)
• $208.7 billion: Total U.S. teen spending. (Products bought by and for teens.)
• 18%: Amount of their income teens spend on food.
• 14x: The amount of more money spent by adults, as a proportion of their income.
• 63 million: Number of kids who are affecting purchases when adding in 10-12 and 19-24 year-olds.
• $91.1 billion: Total annual teen income in the U.S.
• $117.6 billion: Annual amount of money families spend on teens for food, apparel, personal care and entertainment.

Mom, Are You Listening To Me?

Moms say they ask their teens for their opinions before making purchase quite often in these categories:

   • 90% restaurants

   • 88% snacks

   • 87% cereal

   • 83% beverages

When teens are serving up their opinions, are moms listening? Yes they are!

   • 57% of teens say mom listens to their opinions all or most of the time.

   • 40% of teens say mom listens often.

   • 3% of teens say mom never listens.

A Quick Look at Teen Demographics

Teens are Multicultural

42% of 12-17 year olds are Hispanics, African-Americans and Asian-Americans. (This stat is roughly the same for 18-24 and 25-34 age groups,

as well.)

Versus Young Adults, Teens Live in households with Higher Incomes

In 2012, 29% of U.S. teens lived in high-income homes ($100k+), while only 25% of young adults lived in households within this same income bracket. There were also more teen households with middle incomes ($30k-$100k) than those of young adults. Finally, fewer teens lived in lower-income homes ($30k) than their slightly older counterparts.



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