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Survey: Teens Prefer Shopping Online; Spending Less on Fashion

Today’s American girl is a Lululemon-wearing, Michael Kors-toting Internet shopper who trusts the opinions of her peers over paid placement, according to the latest teen spending report from investment bank and asset management firm Piper Jaffray.

The semiannual survey, released on Wednesday, analyzed the habits of 6,200 U.S. teens with an average age of 16 and discovered that while they directly command a massive $75 billion of discretionary spending, these social media-savvy youngsters are choosing to splurge on share-worthy experiences, like music festivals and eating out, over fashion.

But when they do update their wardrobes, they do so online—choosing sites with physical locations over e-tailers and spending more on athleisure leaders, like Lululemon, Nike, Victoria’s Secret’s Pink label and Under Armour.

Other top clothing brands reveal preppy is still popular—Ralph Lauren, Vineyard Vines and American Eagle—and Converse, Vans and Sperry Top-Sider dominate footwear choices.

While teen boys and girls alike are leaning toward more leisure-inspired looks, the latter is still accessorizing with affordable luxury handbags. Michael Kors tops all other brands, with 39 percent of average-income girls choosing that shiny MK hardware over Coach and Kate Spade, which came in second and third place respectively.

And these teens aren’t just squandering their parents’ hard-earned cash: 35 percent are employed part-time, up from 33 percent a year ago, and the majority read customer reviews before hitting that “buy” button.