Teens Buying Online but Spending Less

Teens are notoriously weird shoppers online

Nearly six out of 10 US teens surveyed have made a purchase online, according to a June 2008 study conducted by OTX and The Intelligence Group. Responding online buying teens said they spent an average of $46 every month, and more than one-quarter spent $50 or more. 

Clothes and music were the two most popular online purchases, followed by books, electronics and DVDs.

Products Purchased Online by US Teen Online Buyers, 2008 (% of respondents)

OTX noted that the Internet is only one of several media types that teens use and that they do not want to do everything online. For example, 82% of teens said they preferred shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, while only 18% said they liked shopping online better.

Mandy Putnam, vice president at TNS Retail Forward said in a June 2008 STORES article that while young people prefer the “sensory stimulation that accompanies shopping with friends at stores,” preshopping online is training teens to be smart shoppers and to stretch their dollars.

“Teens are proving to be very savvy online shoppers who compare and contrast and click endlessly in search of the item they want at a price they’re willing to pay—or that they think mom will go along with,” Ms. Putnam said.

Although teens are actively buying online, the amount they spend may be taking a hit from the economic slowdown, according to Piper Jaffray‘s most recent “Teen Spending Survey,” released in April 2008. Piper and its research partner, student marketing association DECA, found that total year-over-year spending was down 15% among young men and 11% for young women.

Spending among 13 to 21 year-olds reached $120 billion in 2007, according to The Harris Poll.

Annual Spending by US Children and Young Adults, by Age, 2007 (billions)

Via eMarketer