Teen girls seek peer feedback
In 2009, nearly half of all teen internet users bought goods such as apparel, books and music online, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
This represents a 17-percentage-point increase in penetration over 2000. An even higher percentage would have made such purchases had they more spending money and access to a credit card.
“Several payment alternatives like debit cards and student accounts not only enable teens to buy on the web but also let parents set spending limits and monitor payment activity,” said Jeffrey Grau, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report “Marketing Online to Teens: Girls Shop with a Social Twist.” “Yet rather than offer these options, many retailers seem content to drive online teenagers to their physical stores.”
When it comes to what teens buy online and offline, the largest spending category by far is fashion—consisting of clothing (taking 22% of total teen spending), accessories (11%) and footwear (9%). Fashion represented 43% of North American respondents’ spending plans in spring 2010, Piper Jaffray reported in its 19th semiannual survey of teens.
Fashion translates into social shopping for many teens—especially girls—who frequently seek approval from close friends or siblings about considered purchases. Retailers that use innovative tools to bring that experience online will do best at attracting teen customers.
“New online tools are emerging that mimic the way teens like to shop in stores,” said Grau. “Some enable teens to shop online and instantly get feedback from peers about a considered purchase. Other help teens mix and match fashion outfits. Online retailers that are seriously interested in building their teen customer base should put these tools high on their list of web development priorities.”
The full report, “Marketing Online to Teens: Girls Shop with a Social Twist,” also answers these key questions:
- What percentage of teen internet users buy online, and what prevents more from doing so?
- How do teens use social media to get product tips and purchase advice?
- What do teens expect from the retailers they do business with?
- How do retailers market effectively to teens on social media?