Saturday, October 17, 2015

Unraveling Mysterious Spending Behaviors of Earthlings Known as Teens

She sulks. She texts. There’s not an episode of the Kardashians she hasn’t discussed with friends, and when it comes to her spending behaviors, you can throw predictability out the window. Such is the world of today’s teen and if you happen to have more than one living under your roof, we want you to know that we feel your pain.


You already know that your opinions about dudes, fashion and peers are not just outdated but cause for dramatic eye rolls when expressed, but you also know that when it comes to turning on the charm because your teen needs some cash, she’s the Madeleine Albright of diplomacy. How can you stay ahead of current teen spending trends so you stand a chance of surviving these years with your sanity intact? Remembering that, “this, too, shall pass.”


photo credit: Photo pin.com



But, everyone is wearing it!


You know the drill. Taylor Swift wore a hot new number at the Teen Choice Awards and your daughter has promised to do something drastic if she can’t get her hands on something similar by prom. You’re busy juggling a household budget that could be helped by a degree in economics, but you also know that like all commodities, clothing prices tend to escalate, so you pray for a happy compromise and venture forth. What can you expect? According to a reliable annual study conducted by the firm Piper Jaffray, spending on teen fashion climbed from $995 in 2013 to $1069 a year later—just about the time spring collections for 2015 were rolled out. And if your big girl is brand loyal, good luck talking her into a Playtex bra when, in her words, "Everyone on the planet wears Victoria’s Secret." That said, teen shoppers are looking more for deals than they used to and are keeping reviews (especially online reviews) and customer service in mind before shopping and buying.


Yes, you can count your blessings


Your son is as brand- and status-focused as your daughter, but thankfully, you needn’t despair when it comes to his shopping habits. Grab the collars of guys strolling malls anywhere in the U.S. and you’ll see identical labels, reflecting the herd mentality social scientists invoke from time-to-time: Nike, Ralph Lauren, Urban Outfitters, Pacsun and American Eagle, to name a few. The good news is that these brands can be found at discounters like TJ Maxx and sister store, Marshalls, and lo and behold, there’s no stigma attached to shopping at either since teens consider both Mecca. According to the aforementioned Piper Jaffray study, your kid spent around 21-percent of his cash on clothing during an average of 29 shopping excursions annually. Sure, it seems like more, and if you watched the recent CNN news special “Being 13,” we don’t have to tell you that those mall trips might be under-reported.


I don’t get it; he eats like crazy at home


Stand-up comedians with teens at home don’t need much fodder beyond their ‘fridges to riff nonstop about the relationship between their teens and food. She’s on a perpetual diet. He’s cleaning out your freezer at a rate worthy of a doctor’s appointment to see whether tapeworms exist these days. Dare we mention the wrestler upstairs who lives on water and lettuce before weighing in? There’s a disparity between food spending when kids from high- and low-income families are compared, but if your household is the former, your child probably spends about 20-percent of his disposable cash on food—which leads to the quintessential question: “If a fast food restaurant falls in the forest, would you still hear the sound of your child eating you out of house and home?”


She’s wired. What’s new?


Here’s the punchline of a joke circulated recently at a parent get-together sponsored by a high school: “I’m pretty sure his eyes are still blue, but since I haven’t seen them for a year, I’m not sure.” Welcome to the world of devices. As the aforementioned CNN special pointed out, kids can’t stop checking their electronic devices for more than a few minutes without stressing out. Factors related to habituated cell checking behavior are of our own making because most of us wouldn’t think of sending our kid out the door without a communications device, and since teens wish lists are usually comprised of iPhones, iPads, iPad minis, Android tablets and the occasional Kindle Fire, we're reinforcing behavior by heading straight for the Apple Store when the occasion arises.


Need a little good news? Research conducted by prestigious institutions agree that kids who show up at the dinner table without their phones (house rules) are much healthier than those who bring nothing but their eyelids to mealtime. Setting limits has always been important in parenting, so this is probably nothing new, but is positive proof that the family that eats together has been known to survive teen years in better shape together!


Bio -

This guest post is courtesy of Sentry Marketing Group located outside of Dallas, Texas. SMG handles retail mystery shopping as well as competitive analysis and other services for businesses.