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Teens’ Holiday Wishlist Reveals Big-Ticket Taste for Luxury, Survey Says

Teens don’t want a lot for Christmas… except for money, clothes and cars, that is.

According to a holiday survey on global lifestyle brands by financial services firm Piper Jaffray, released Monday, Gen Z consumers are hoping for big-ticket and luxury items this holiday season.

Cash gifts came in at the top of their lists, with 14 percent of respondents copping to wanting their own money to spend. Apparel took the No. 2 spot at 13 percent, while cars, phones and shoes came in No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5, respectively. About 6 percent of young shoppers said they were hoping for footwear this year.

When it comes to the specific brands that teens favored, Apple took the No. 1 spot, with many youngsters asking for AirPods in their holiday hauls. Nike took the No. 2 spot—its share more than tripling year over year, from 0.3 percent in 2018 to 1.1 percent this season.

Mentions of European luxury brands surged this year, with 1.6 percent of the consumer vote going to the category. Louis Vuitton was most commonly cited by teens, (reaching 0.6 percent, up from 0.3 percent last year), followed by Gucci at 0.5 percent. Last year, luxury represented just 1 percent of the total vote, and in 2017, just 0.3 percent of consumers said they were vying for premium brands.

Adidas and Lululemon also captured teen interest for holiday gifts, with 0.4 percent of survey respondents putting each brand at the top of the most-wanted list.

While some brands didn’t make teens’ fantasy holiday wishlist, Piper Jaffray analysts insisted they’re still ones to watch. Foam clog manufacturer Crocs, once a favorite of Boomers and medical professionals, has become an outright cultural sensation. Pulling strength from ongoing collaborations with the likes of Post Malone, Ruby Rose and Luke Combs, the unlikely favorite stands to enter 2020 on a high with Gen Z consumers.

VF Corp., the parent company behind brands like Vans and The North Face, also shows positive growth potential with this group, analysts said. Piper Jaffray cited Vans’ loyalty program as a driver for young shoppers, and the brand’s ComfyCush sneaker release in August was its most successful global launch to date. The North Face’s breathable, waterproof FutureLight line debuted in early October to much fanfare, with bright, eye-catching colors to entice young, streetwear-obsessed shoppers.

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Though this year’s holiday shopping season is six days shorter than last year’s, analysts said that promotional activity has kicked off earlier to compensate. While consumer spending remains healthy, shoppers could be spooked by economic considerations, like the possibility of a recession and the ongoing trade war with China. Analysts expect department stores and specialty retail to bear the brunt of this insecurity, with about 46 percent of shoppers saying they’d be shopping online instead.