Teenagers control an annual purchasing power of $208.7 billion dollars. Some of that’s their own money, some of it’s their parents’. But the fact of the matter is your brand can not and should not overlook this important demographic.
In this post we’ll look at some of the ways teenagers influence decisions and the buying power they have.
They’re Tech Savvy Researchers That Have a Voice in Household Purchases
Older folks deserve some credit. In today’s world, they are, on the whole pretty tech literate, but it’s nothing like their children are. Consider this. In 1997 (18 years ago), only 18 percent of households in the U.S. had an internet connection at home. By 2012, nearly 75 percent did. Today’s teenagers are supremely adept at using the internet because they’ve never lived in a world without it.
Because of this, it’s common for parents to delegate product research to their teens for major household purchases — cars, vacations, as well as smaller purchases like where to order takeout for dinner. (Fun fact: Teens spend $16 billion a year on food.)
They Have Strong Opinions and Want to Make Their Own Decisions
Teens are constantly looking for ways to assert themselves and their independence. Even when they aren’t asked to, they’re going to go ahead and research the next family vacation destination. They’ll veto their parent’s decisions and serve as strong advocates for their own choices. But it’s not just household purchasing decisions that teens influence. A lot of what they buy is for themselves — with their own money.
And it has to be cool. That much hasn’t changed. Whether it’s new clothes, movie and concert tickets, the latest cell phone, even what college or university to attend, teens want to make consumer choices that reflect — and help define — the identities they are creating for themselves.
That’s good news. These are people who are still figuring out their tastes — they don’t yet know what brands they like. But once they decide, they are not only loyal to that brand, they’re de facto ambassadors, texting and reblogging their preferences like wildfire.
Fads and trends will eventually pass, but the purchasing habits teens develop now will shape who they are as adult consumers. Think about your own experience— surely there were one or two regrettable fashion decisions. But the truly great products and brands discovered in adolescence are not easily forgotten.