Who Are The Leading Retail & Beauty Brands For Teens? [New Data]

By Tinuiti Team

In CPC Strategy’s 2018 Holiday Forecast Study we predicted that Gen Z (roughly 18- to 24-year-olds) would spend 21% more on gifts this year.

However, considering 66% of Gen Z is limited by a gift budget of less than $250, this was unlikely to make a dent in the market.



While we could easily assume the smaller spending is temporary due to low-paying entry-level jobs, we need to keep in mind that Gen Z has a more conservative view of finances than Millennials.

There have been reports pointing to Gen Z’s “money-mindedness” and aversion to debt.


Credit: CPC Strategy’s 2018 U.S. Holiday Shopping Forecast


Regardless of how much money Gen Z is willing to spend right now, this demographic is expected to dictate the future of shopping.

From device preference to consumer behavior, brands across all verticals should keep a close eye on this rising group of spenders.

Curious which brands captured the attention (and dollars) of teens this year?

In the following article, we highlight statistics founded by Current, the leading debit card and app for teens.




Top Brands for Teen Spend in 2018

The following report includes proprietary data from Current on where teens have been being spending the past months leading up to Black Friday 2018, and who the top retail (clothing and cosmetics) brands are for teens are today compared to findings from 2017.


Apparel (Top Brands For Teens):


Credit: Current

As you can see in the data above, big winners from June to October included brands Forever21, Victoria Secret, and American Eagle.

Teens (using Current’s app) seemed to have less interest in brands such as Aeropostale and Charlotte Russe.

2017 vs 2018:

The data below shows a comparison of the top 12 teen brands from 2017 to 2018.

Forever21 thrived in 2018 with a 7.11% YoY growth, while brands like Urban Outfitters suffered a 3.83% drop.



One determining factor here is price.

Brands such as Urban Outfitters do not likely fit the budget constraints of most Gen Z shoppers, while Forever21 offers a wide variety of items that fit nicely within their small spending allowances.

Brands like Forever21 offer an endless variety of styles from chic to rocker and you can find almost every apparel item under the sun – from pajamas and socks to shoes and accessories.

One interesting shift worthy of mention is Victoria Secret, which has recently come under fire for “body shaming” in 2018.

Earlier this year, Australian supermodel Robyn Lawley launched a petition on with the hashtag #WeAreAllAngels, challenging women to boycott the Victoria Secret brand.


Robyn Lawley’s Instagram


“Let’s help change Victoria’s Secret to be more diverse and inclusive of body shapes and sizes on their runways! Victoria Secret have dominated the space for almost 30 years by telling women there is only one kind of body beautiful,” Lawley wrote in her petition.

Although the brand continues to dominate as the second top brand among teen spending, it did suffer a 3.13% drop YoY– indicating a reduced interest among young and rising consumers.


Cosmetics (Top Brands For Teens):

The following is Cosmetic data from Current (June 2018 to November 2018).

Note: November is partial data through 11-19-2018. Share percentage in 2018 is shared among all brands listed, not of total market. This contains only data from retailers. Cosmetics sold via Amazon or in department stores will not appear in our data at this time.



As you can see in the data above, big winners from June to November included Ulta, Bed Bath & Bodyworks, and Sephora.

Surprisingly, teens were not interested in spending their hard-earned money on trending brands such as Glossier and Kylie Jenner’s widely successful makeup line.


Why was Gen-Z a no-show on Cyber Monday?

Additional reports indicate that Gen-Z spent 2.5x more on Black Friday than they did on Cyber Monday in 2018.

According to Current’s data:

In 2017 we found that teens spent less on Cyber Monday than they had on the same day of the prior week. In 2018 we saw more of the same. Current users swiped 7.0% less often, and spent 6.7% less on Cyber Monday than the Monday prior.

But why the harsh contrast in spending on Black Friday spending vs. Cyber Monday?

Here are a few reasons:

  1. Although we live in the digital age, teens are still willing to make the trek to nearby malls not only for deals and discounts on their favorite items – but as a social event and to converse with peers.
  2. Cyber Monday is a school day, which required students to be in class instead of shopping.
  3. After spending money on Black Friday, some experts believe teens had less money in their accounts to splurge on Cyber Monday.


Experts on Teen Spending in 2018:

Here’s what Stuart Sopp, CEO at Current said in regards to the stark contrast between teen spending on Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday:



“We know teens shop in-app and online more than adults, so it was interesting to see that for the second year in a row Current’s teenage debit card customers headed to traditional brick and mortar retail on Black Friday. We have found that Black Friday is as much a social event for teens as it is a day of discounts, and they head to the mall with family and friends in large numbers.

Teens also see Black Friday as an opportunity to buy holiday presents. When we asked our teen cardholders what their Black Friday savings goals were, 24 percent said they were saving to buy holiday gifts for others. The average Back Friday Savings Goal set by teens in the Current app was $275.

In contrast, Cyber Monday doesn’t seem to be a thing with teens.

Transaction volume was nothing special on Cyber Monday, teens actually spent more using their Current cards the Monday before.

Declaring a day for online shopping doesn’t seem to catch the interest of a generation that shops online every day. Plus, many tell us that after they have saved for and spent on Black Friday, they just don’t have much left for Cyber Monday deals.”

For more on Gen Z shopping trends, email [email protected]

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