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Most households in America have it, and you may have teenagers to thank for it

Amazon Prime started out 12 years ago as a way to guarantee free shipping to loyal shoppers. It’s now a must-have for homes with people only a little older than that.

Research company Piper Jaffray has surveyed hundreds of thousands of teens on their spending habits, fashion choices, and consumption — both digital and food-related. Amazon Prime, which has evolved far beyond shipping to include movies, music, and other benefits. It’s among the most attractive products in the house today.

“Amazon Prime adoption has grown across all income brackets in each of the past six surveys, most recently indicating Amazon Prime exists in 58 percent of households of the teens surveyed,” the report says. “This survey, along with other previous Piper Jaffray consumer surveys, suggests that there are 63-66 million Prime households in the U.S.”

Amazon Prime is also the top destination among teen shoppers, with 40 percent preferring this site overall. In a far distant second is Nike, with 8 percent of shoppers. Then American Eagle (4 percent), eBay (3 percent), and Forever 21 (2 percent).

stock with teens survey

What the kids are wearing

If teens are spending all their (or their parents’) money on Amazon, what exactly are they buying?

“Among upper-income teens, fashion athletic apparel is still on the rise with a new high of 35 percent share achieved with Nike, Adidas and Under Armour gaining share,” the report says. “Historically, we’ve observed that results from our upper-income survey set tend to lead overall spending.”

When it comes to top clothing brands, Nike rules with 29 percent of teen shoppers. American Eagle follows with 9 percent. Forever 21 (5 percent), Ralph Lauren (4 percent), and Urban Outfitters (3 percent) round out the top 5.

It isn’t just clothing that Nike rules, as they are the overwhelming favorite for shoe brands as well. It’s the top choice among shoppers with 51 percent. The next-biggest favorite: Vans, with 9 percent.

The survey says beauty spending is up to 11 percent of all spending among females — the highest ever since the survey started — and specialty stores are taking the reins. Mac is the most popular beauty brand, followed by Maybelline, Urban Decay, CoverGirl, and Too Faced.

What the kids are watching

If cable cord-cutting hasn’t happened in your house, it may very well happen soon if you’ve got kids. Streaming is how most teens are watching their favorite shows and movies these days, with Netflix taking the top spot at 37 percent of viewers. YouTube followed with 26 percent. Cable TV took third, with 25 percent.

“For the first time in our survey, YouTube outpaced cable TV when teens respond to how they spend their time,” the survey says. Hulu had 3 percent of viewers, while 6 percent used a different streaming service altogether as their preferred video consumption.

When it comes to social media platforms, teens much prefer Snapchat over others, with 35 percent of respondents preferring this outlet most. Instagram followed with 24 percent, while Twitter and Facebook tied for 13 percent.

The semiannual survey tallies results from approximately 10,000 teens, averaging around 16 years of age. Since the survey started 16 years ago, Piper Jaffray has surveyed 140,000 teens and collected more than 37 million data points.

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Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


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