Over the past six months, the economic downturn has taken its toll on teen spending, and has also affected the amount of dollars parents spend on their teens according to data released today by securities firm US Bancorp Piper Jaffray.

The research survey on teen spending habits and retail brand perception, which was carried out by retail analyst Jeff Klinefelter, also found teens continue to list the same brand preferences, but new ones have been added and several shifts in the rankings have occurred. 
Klinefelter surveyed teens on their favourite places to shop as well as their spending habits, concluding that Abercrombie & Fitch is the most frequent overall destination, followed by Pacific Sunwear and American Eagle Outfitters. 

American Eagle maintained its No 3 spot since the last survey out six months ago. Gap, however, dropped slightly to fifth from fourth, but its rank improved for girls from fourth to third.

In addition, The Old Navy brand (a division of Gap) moved up to seventh from eighth, jumping from ninth to sixth for guys. Banana Republic slipped four rankings to 11. Limited's Express unit fell from second to fourth and dropped from the first rank last spring with girls to second.

The survey found yearly spending among teens was $1,154, down from $1,536 in autumn 2001. In spring 2002, yearly spending was $1,542. In autumn 2002, girls spent $1,342 compared with $1,458 in spring 2002 and $1,716 in fall 2001. Guys spent just $890 in fall 2002 compared with $1,661 in spring 2002 and $1,152 in fall 2001.
"Teens seem to be feeling the brunt of the economic downturn, as spending on the fashion categories declined 25 per cent year-over-year and sequentially," said Klinefelter. "Moreover, according to our survey, fewer teens have after-school jobs and are receiving less money from their parents toward purchases.

"The move toward value continues to be strong for teens, as a majority indicated that they were inclined to buy products on sale and 10 per cent of those surveyed regularly shopped at outlet stores."

In addition to surveying the students on spending patterns this fall, Klinefelter also surveyed their parents. According to the data, parents are contributing $935 yearly to their teens spending, compared with $1,115 in spring 2002. In autumn 2001, parents spent $1,015 on their teens.

Parents have a greater preference for purchasing apparel through department stores, rather than major chains and specialty stores. In autumn 2002, parents spent 15 per cent of their money at major chains, compared with 26 per cent in spring 2002. They also spent 37 per cent at department stores, compared with just 28 per cent in spring 2002.

According to the parents, the favourite store to purchase products for their teens is Abercrombie & Fitch, followed by Nordstrom, Express, American Eagle Outfitters and Gap.

Ultimately, by a margin of two to one, parents say teens have the final word on where to buy clothing.

A key component of the survey asked the students to identify what percentage of their disposable income they spend on video games, music/movies, electronic gadgets, clothing, accessories/personal care, shoes, food, concerts/movies and other. This autumn, apparel was down from 19.7 per cent of total spending to 18.8 per cent.