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The Fashion Group International recently hosted an expert panel that addressed teen spending habits, contradictory behaviors, individuality, and teen’s sophistication in retail choices. Tina Wells, CEO, Buzz Marketing Group, moderated the panel that included Glen Ellen Brown, vice president and director of brand development, the Hearst Group; Jane Lacher, senior vice president consumer planner, MediaVest WW; Susan Schulz, editor in chief, CosmoGirl; and Elizabeth Kiester, creative director, LeSportsac.
“Teens spend $209 billion of what they call their own money, which makes them a force to reckon with,” said Brown.
Lacher noted that entertainment and clothes are the two biggest spending categories for teens. In addition, the teen market is said to be a bundle of contradictions, according to Lacher, who observed teens exert their spending power at box-stores as well as upscale boutiques.
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“Beauty products are still considered a fashion product, and obviously fragrance is all about style and the statement you want to make about yourself,” said Schulz. She cited the Britney Spears voice mail campaign in which teens were left messages on their cell phones urging them to go out and buy Britney’s fragrance Curious. According to Schulz, the campaign was a huge success.
“Getting to teens requires a fine balance between being aggressive and authentic,” said Lacher.
“Teens are very brand loyal—and start to develop that loyalty at age 12 and establish it by the age of 16,” said Schulz. Teens also are attracted to causal marketing, in which issues concerning the environment or animals generally appeal to their desire to give back and lend support. Schulz cited the MAC AIDS awareness campaign and its success. Lacher noted the growing area of personal care for teenage boys, observing, “Teen boys love hair products and skin care. This market didn’t really exist five years ago.” She said teen tastes change as they mature, noting, “In cosmetics and fragrance, you’ll see teens graduate to Chanel, for example, and out of certain purchases they made as teens.”