Teens' shifting habits are destroying mall brands like Macy's and Nordstrom

Teens are changing the retail sphere as we know it, and brands are scrambling to catch up to their tastes.

To figure out more about this elusive generation, Business Insider polled 110 teens.

One statistic stuck out: many don’t hang out at the mall anymore; they don’t think it’s cool.

59.26% said the mall is not a cool place to hang out. 40.74% said it was.

This could be hugely troubling because many traditional retailers — from Macy’s to Gap to J. Crew — are based in malls. And since many traditional retailers are already struggling to revive foot traffic, it only adds more fuel to that fire.

It’s well documented that malls are crumbling. As malls crumble, their anchor stores likely suffer, too (and as anchor stores shutter, it hurts malls as a whole.)
To remedy that, lots of retailers, like Abercrombie & Fitch, have been scrambling to catch up in the e-commerce game, but it could be a losing race. Morgan Stanley has recently predicted that by 2020, Amazon will hold the majority share of the apparel market.

But if stores gave teens a compelling reason to shop there, they would. After all, 63.3% said they prefer to shop in stores as opposed to online; 33.03% said they prefer to shop online. 3.67% said they’d prefer to shop online, but they don’t have credit cards.

But teens are very fickle when it comes to what they like.

When we asked them what made a store “cool” some answers included “good music, cute clothes, chill atmosphere, modern and sleek,” Good prices, good customer service/atmosphere,” and
“don’t over-perfume the store” — the latter of which sounds like a call-out to Abercrombie & Fitch’s infamous

“They have s*** I like. Period,” another said. Still, it begs the question — what do they like? They

And what makes a store uncool?

Abercrombie & FitchMallory Schlossberg/Business InsiderTeens don’t like logos.

“Stores that feel like your parents joining Facebook (clearly older adults trying to be cool but failing), too many directions of apparel, teens do not like being outed as teens, the word swag, if your 40+ and just hearing about then you’re too late to the party,” one said.

“Plastering their logo all over their merchandise, overpricing their poor quality clothes and acting like they’re the s*** when we all know they’re just a has been store whose same exact styles can be found elsewhere for better prices,” another said.

Most importantly, though, retailers aren’t asking teens what they like — which might be why some former staples, like Aeropostale and PacSun, have been so troubled lately (both filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this spring). When we asked teens if they felt like retailers understood them, one teen succinctly — and validly — noted that “they have never asked.”

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