Teen retailers are increasingly abandoning their core demographic for an older crowd.
And Abercrombie & Fitch, once the quintessential high school retailer, is marketing to customers in their 20s for the first time in decades.
For years, teens were some of the most lucrative customers for apparel companies.
Fickle and obsessed with their appearances, many teens had no problem shelling out for trendy items in order to fit in at school.
But the mentality of teenage consumers is changing rapidly, according to Piper Jaffray’s recent Taking Stock With Teens survey.
Researchers found that today’s teens are increasingly spending on technology and food over clothing.
For the first time in history, teens are spending as much on food as they are on clothing, according to the analysts at Piper Jaffray. This is fuelled by trendy coffee drinks at Starbucks, the top food retailer among the demographic.
Many teens are also more concerned with having a new iPhone than a name-brand t-shirt, according to the survey.
When they do buy trendy clothes, teens are value-conscious. They prefer fast-fashion companies like H&M and Forever 21 to the more expensive specialty stores.
The changing attitude of teenagers means that college students, who spent their teen years buying Abercrombie & Fitch and Urban Outfitters, are a safer bet.
But sometimes, marketing to college students can lure high schoolers back to the brand.
Take the Pink brand at Victoria’s Secret.
While Victoria’s Secret insists that it’s only marketing to college students, the reality of who shops there is totally different.
“When somebody’s 15 or 16 years old, what do they want to be?” Stuart Burgdoerfer, CFO of Victoria’s Secret, said at a conference last year. “They want to be older, and they want to be cool like the girl in college, and that’s part of the magic of what we do at Pink.”
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