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Despite a dip in popularity, TikTok is still the top social app among teens, according to a study

Dive Brief:

  • TikTok remains teens’ most favored social media platform so far in 2023, though its favorability fell one percentage point from the fall of 2022 with a 37% share, according to Piper Sandler’s Spring 2023 Taking Stock with Teens survey.
  • Behind TikTok is Snap (27%) and Instagram (23%). TikTok has been the top ranking social media app since spring 2022, when it unseated Snap. Thirty-one percent of teens spend their daily video consumption on Netflix, followed by YouTube (28%), both falling one percentage point from last fall.
  • Among spending priorities, food was top of the list for men (24%) and clothing was top of the list for women (28%). Nike remains the top brand for all teens for both apparel (33%) and footwear (61%), while Amazon is regarded as the top e-commerce site (57%).

Dive Insight:

While many findings in Piper Sandler’s latest Taking Stock With Teens survey indicate minimal movement in Gen Z consumer brand preferences from its fall 2022 findings, some shifts could allude to larger forces at play in the marketplace that could have implications down the line. In particular, the slight drop in favorability for TikTok compared to last fall could stem from growing data privacy concerns and ongoing federal scrutiny of the ByteDance app.

Still, it’s unlikely that use of TikTok by teens is going to plummet anytime soon, as indicated by its unshaken No. 1 status and ongoing support from marketers. Behind it, Snap and Instagram also continue to hold steady in spots two and three, respectively, despite both facing headwinds of their own and Snap being dethroned as front-runner last year. Among other tech findings, weekly use of virtual reality devices was flat compared to fall 2022, though 29% of teens own a VR device, per the study, mirroring widespread struggles in the space.

Self-reported teen spend totals $2,419, up 2% YoY, with spend among upper income teen men rising 6% YoY and rising 1% YoY for teen women. Piper Sandler’s latest semi-annual report surveyed 5,690 teens across 47 U.S. states in February and March with an average age of 16.2 years.

The report tracks a slight uptick in preferences to favor off-price and secondhand shopping. On the flip side, the mass/dept/drug sector reached a new low of 12%, indicating that younger consumers may increasingly favor sustainable shopping efforts and affordability as economic headwinds persist.

Among preferred e-commerce sites, Amazon took the lead, followed by Nike (6%), Shein (6%), Lululemon (3%) and Pacsun. Brands including Ugg, Crocs, Hey Dude and E.l.f. Cosmetics all posted YoY gains, while the core beauty wallet — cosmetics, skincare and fragrance — grew 19% YoY to $313 annual spend led by cosmetics, which posted 32% YoY growth. Among successful food brands, Chick-fil-A remained the No. 1 restaurant (13%) followed by Starbucks (12%) and Chipotle (7%).

Unsurprisingly, Gen Z continues to show signs of strong regards for social causes and the environment, more so than older counterparts, the survey noted. This year, environmental concerns were the highest ranking cause at 19%, followed by racial equity (9%), abortion and inflation, both earning a 6% share, and The Willow Project (4%).

Resource: Dive Marketing

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