Crocs, e.l.f. Cosmetics gain share among Gen Z

Check out 12 findings from Piper Sandler's latest Taking Stock with Teens survey.

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The preferences of teenagers say a lot about what one of the most valuable cohorts of consumers wants to see on the digital shelf, and where tastes are heading next.

That’s why Piper Sandler’s annual survey of teens proves to provide valuable insights. This spring's Taking Stock with Teens report received input from 5,690 teens across 47 states. The survey was fielded February 13 to March 21.

Here are a dozen key findings showing Gen Z preferences in areas that are relevant to ecommerce and retail:

Teen spending is up 2% year-over-year, with core beauty (cosmetics, skincare, fragrance) growing a notable 19% year-over-year to $313 annually. Cosmetics were up 32% year-over-year.

Shopping channel preferences are showing a shift to off-price (+500 basis points YoY) and secondhand (+200 bps YoY).

Buy Now Pay Later: PayPal’s “Pay in 4” was most popular, followed by Square’s Afterpay.

Apparel: Nike held onto the top spot for most popular brand, while lululemon fell to No 3.

Footwear: Crocs ranked No. 6 and Hey Dude ranked No. 8, both gaining share. On Running and Hoka were No. 12 and No. 19, respectively.

Beauty: e.l.f.remains the top cosmetics brand, gaining 900 basis points to 22% for female teams.

Beauty retail: Specialty Retail for beauty purchases was 75%, equalling spring 2021 highs. Mass/dept/drug reached a new low of 12%.

Snacks: Teens report the highest intentions to eat more or the same amount of Cheez-It and Goldfish. Goldfish remain the most preferred snack.

Plant-based: 42% of teens consume or are willing to try plant-based meat, vs. 49% in spring of 2021. In dairy, 40% are willing to try plant-based dairy.

Customer service: Phone is the No. 1 preferred method, while text/SMS showed the best multi-year gains.

Shopping: Amazon remained the top destination for shopping, while Nike gained the No. 2 spot.

Apps: TikTok remained the overall top app among teens.

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