80% of teens shop online, and their favorite web retailer is Amazon

They greatest portion of teen online spending is for apparel.

Allison Enright

Teenagers are trading in shopping at the mall for shopping on the web. A September survey by investment firm Piper Jaffray Cos. says 78% of teen girls and 82% of teen boys shop online, and 25% of girls and 37% of boys prefer shopping online over shopping in stores.

More than 8,600 teens participated in the survey, and the average age of respondents was 16.2. A portion of the responses were collected on-site in high schools in 13 states and a portion through a nationwide online survey.

By product category, 29% of what teens spend online is on apparel, followed by footwear (22%), electronics (20%), accessories (13%), other (11%) and personal care products (6%). The “Taking Stock With Teens” report did not assign dollar amounts to teen online spending, but the investment bank says respondents indicated that a mid-teens percentage of their spending is online.

Looking closer at online apparel shopping, 70% of teen girls who shop for apparel online say they buy most often from the e-retail sites of chain retailers, with 30% citing web-only retailers. For boys, the split is 59% for the e-retail sites of chain retailers and 41% for web-only merchants.

Teen boys and girls agree that their favorite e-retailer is Amazon.com Inc: 25% of girls and 35% of boys name it as their favorite. For girls, the runners-up are Forever 21 (9%), Nordstrom (6%), Urban Outfitters (6%) and American Eagle Outfitters (5%). For boys, the runners-up are eBay (10%), Nike (9%), Eastbay (4%) and PacSun (2%). Amazon.com is No. 1 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide. Forever 21 is No. 353; Nordstrom, No. 28; Urban Outfitters, No. 48; American Eagle Outfitters, No. 64; Nike, No. 72; and PacSun, No. 290. Eastbay is a unit of Foot Locker Inc., No. 51.

The survey also looked at teens’ use of mobile devices and at digital content consumption. It says 55% of teens own an Apple Inc. iPhone, up from 48% a year ago. More than half, 56%, now own a tablet, up from 51% in spring 2013.

Movie rental and streaming firm Netflix Inc., No. 9 in the Top 500, should be pleased with what the survey reveals about teens and digital streaming: 49% say they download or stream movie rentals, and 59% of teens say that in five years they expect Netflix to be their primary source of movie rentals.



Amazon, Netflix, online apparel sales, Piper Jaffray, streamed content, teen shoppers, web-only merchants