Piper Sandler Companies' 46th semi-annual Taking Stock With Teens survey in partnership with DECA has found that respondents' annual beauty spending now totals $324, with color cosmetics spending alone rising 33% year-over-year. Notably, makeup held the highest priority of beauty spending among teens at $127, the highest level seen since pre-pandemic 2019.
The fall survey was conducted September 4-27, 2023, featuring 9,193 U.S. teens with an average age of 15.7 years. Regional responses were 36% in the south, 29% in the midwest, 21% in the west and 14% in the northeast.
Preferred Shopping Channels
Sephora surged past Ulta Beauty in the latest survey to become the most preferred beauty shopping destination, with a loyalty membership of 67% (Ulta: 60%), per Piper Sandler.
Piper Sandler has a simple explanation for this reversal: the average household income among surveyed teens has reached the highest level seen in five surveys. Because Sephora skews toward higher income consumers, the retailer was able to make a significant jump in teen engagement, year-over-year.
Specialty retail channels for beauty purchases reached the highest level yet, at 79%, while mass/department/drug channels reached a new low of 11%.
Overall, however, shopping preferences have skyrocketed 545 basis points year-over-year toward off-price stores, while preferences for online-only e-commerce jumped 121 basis points (particularly Amazon, as well as direct-to-consumer fast fashion outlets).
This came at the expense of specialty, discount and outlet channels.
As in earlier surveys, e.l.f. Beauty, Inc. was the top cosmetics brand among surveyed teens, increasing 13 points year-over-year to a 29% of females.
pending in the overall category was up 33% year-over-year. Upper income female spending was up 29% in the period.
Skin care spending lagged makeup slightly, totaling $122, representing a jump of 19% year-over-year. Spending now stands at 16% higher than the multi-year average, per Piper Sandler. Respondents' top brand was CeraVe, with 37% share of those surveyed.
Teen fragrance spending has jumped 14% year-over-year. Annual fragrance spend now stands at $75, versus $66 in the fall of 2022. High-income teens are spending a bit less year-over-year, with current annual spending standing at $73.
According to the survey, 72% of surveyed teens noted use fragrance every day, while 23% noted using a fragrance sometimes and 6% reported never using a fragrance.
Teen hair care spending rose 5% year-over-year. Annual hair care spending now stands at $96 across all economic groups, while upper-income teens stand at $99/year.
TikTok is the most preferred social platform (rising significantly since spring 2023), topping Snap and Instagram.
As for online video, teens primarily prefer Netflix and YouTube.