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US Teen Trends Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Teen Trends market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Key points included

  • The turning point for independence
  • The mobile-first experience
  • The impact of pop culture
  • The ability to connect to others

Covered in this report

For the purposes of this report, Mintel uses the following definitions:

  • Teens: children aged 12-17
  • Younger teens: children aged 12-14
  • Older teens: children aged 15-17
  • Gen Z: Consumers born between 1995 and 2007. Gen Z is currently between the age of 12 and 24.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by John Poelking, a leading analyst in the Leisure & Media sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Although they represent a small share of the population and spending power, teens continue to dictate where the US market is going and how it will look in the future. Parents still have a significant amount of power over teens and their choices, but teens are asserting their independence now more than ever as they increase their digital footprint. Mobile lives and digital interactions shape how teens discover new trends and how they interact with the world around them. John Poelking
Leisure & Media Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • Overview
          • Figure 1: Share of population, by age, 2019
        • The turning point for independence
          • Parents still dictating interests, but changes are coming
            • Key opportunity
              • Figure 2: Teen location of free time, April 2019
            • The mobile-first experience
              • Teens turning inward through smartphones
                • Key opportunity
                  • Figure 3: Attitudes toward mobile devices, April 2019
                • The impact of pop culture
                  • Music, gaming dominate interests
                    • Key opportunity
                      • Figure 4: Teen areas of interest ranked, April 2019
                    • The ability to connect to others
                      • Sharing online brings judgment
                        • Key opportunity
                          • Figure 5: Attitudes toward sharing and standing out, April 2019
                        • What it means
                        • The Market – What You Need to Know

                          • A small but mighty population
                            • Mobile usage on the rise
                              • Online time getting more frequent
                                • Tech reliance opening up opportunities for alone and family time
                                • Teens by the Numbers

                                  • Teen population stagnates
                                    • Figure 6: Share of population, by age, 2019
                                  • Household size impacts teen dynamics
                                    • Figure 7: Number of people in households with teens, October 2017-November 2018
                                  • A multicultural audience
                                    • Figure 8: Share of population by race and Hispanic origin, all vs teens, 2018
                                  • Teens have some responsibility over finances
                                    • Figure 9: Teen use of financial institutions, October 2017-November 2018
                                  • More spending power comes with age
                                    • Figure 10: Weekly teen income from paying job, October 2017-November 2018
                                  • College is more of an expectation for teens
                                    • Figure 11: College enrollment among adults aged 18-24, 1977-2017
                                • Teens and the Mobile Experience

                                  • Ownership and home use of mobile devices on the rise
                                    • Figure 12: Teen mobile device ownership and access at home, 2014-18
                                  • Teen years mark a switch from tablet to smartphone
                                    • Figure 13: Teen smartphone and tablet ownership, by age, October 2017-November 2018
                                  • Most teens need, prefer smartphones
                                    • Figure 14: Attitudes toward mobile devices, April 2019
                                  • Mobile gaming important for many teens
                                    • Figure 15: Types of apps used, October 2017-November 2018
                                • The Internet and Social Media

                                  • Internet out of the home growing
                                    • Figure 16: Teen internet access by location, 2014-18
                                  • Spending more and more time online
                                    • Figure 17: Hours spent online, 2014-18
                                  • Teen and adult social media habits vary wildly
                                      • Figure 18: Daily social media use, teens vs adults, April 2019
                                    • Heavy social media interactions growing
                                      • Figure 19: Social media frequency, 2014-18
                                  • Families and Free Time

                                    • Family time and alone time are two priorities
                                      • Figure 20: Attitudes toward leisure time at home, 2014-18
                                    • Family plans dictate paid content consumption
                                      • Figure 21: Mobile plan type – Single or multi-line, January 2019
                                    • Streaming services getting to be overwhelming
                                    • Key Trends – What You Need to Know

                                      • Finding the experiences that matter
                                        • Balancing out inequality
                                          • Making their mark
                                          • What’s In?

                                            • Finding your tribe on YouTube
                                              • Using video in communication
                                                • Figure 22: Video chat used, October 2017-November 2018
                                              • Kids content still important despite more availability
                                                • Figure 23: Cable channels viewed, October 2017-November 2018
                                              • Netflix wins as others race for the bottom
                                                • Figure 24: Teen streaming service use, October 2017-November 2018
                                              • In-person experiences still have their place
                                                • The mall is hanging in there
                                                  • Figure 25: @westfieldoldorchard Marvel post, April 2019
                                                • Live events ebb and flow
                                                  • Figure 26: Teen live event attendance, by type of performance, 2014-18
                                              • What’s Out?

                                                • As internet rises, everything else falls away
                                                  • Figure 27: Internet impact on terrestrial media, 2014-18
                                                • Inequality in leisure time
                                                  • Speak your truth, as long as it’s what you think others should see
                                                    • Figure 28: @rankinarchive Selfie Harm post, January 2019
                                                  • Teens don’t care about the news
                                                  • What’s Next?

                                                    • A new wave of activism
                                                      • Figure 29: @nowthisnews Greta Thunberg post, December 2018
                                                    • Interactive elements in video
                                                      • Further advancements in live
                                                        • Everything’s a game
                                                        • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                          • Combining the physical and digital world
                                                            • Seeking connection via pop culture
                                                              • Investing in music and other media
                                                                • Teens spending time on different types of videos
                                                                  • Keeping it close to home
                                                                    • Teen segmentation highlights opportunities
                                                                    • Teen Activities and Social Lives

                                                                      • Key opportunity
                                                                        • Parents influence what kids do
                                                                          • Figure 30: Attitudes toward family and leisure time, April 2019
                                                                        • Social groups help dictate participation
                                                                          • Activities done alone: driven by headphones
                                                                            • Activities done with friends: driven by the outside world
                                                                              • Activities with family: driven by living spaces
                                                                                • Figure 31: Correspondence analysis – Symmetrical map – Teen activities and socialization, April 2019
                                                                              • Nearly three quarters of teens spend most of their time in their room
                                                                                • Figure 32: Teen location of free time, April 2019
                                                                              • Older teens have resources to hang with friends
                                                                                • Figure 33: Teen activities and socializing with friends, by age, April 2019
                                                                            • Teen Tech Priorities

                                                                              • Key opportunity
                                                                                • Video, social content crucial for teens
                                                                                  • Figure 34: Teen tech priorities, April 2019
                                                                                • Young boys need media, older girls gravitate toward social
                                                                                  • Figure 35: Teen tech priorities, by gender and age, April 2019
                                                                              • Teen Areas of Interest

                                                                                • Key opportunity
                                                                                  • Pop culture leaves a lasting impact
                                                                                    • Music, media dominates interest
                                                                                      • Shopping, social issues are low priority
                                                                                        • Figure 36: Teen areas of interest ranked, April 2019
                                                                                      • Young boys obsessed with gaming
                                                                                        • Figure 37: Teen areas of interest ranked, by gender and age, April 2019
                                                                                    • Teens and Video

                                                                                      • Key opportunity
                                                                                        • Teens can get what they want for free
                                                                                          • Figure 38: Attitudes toward free videos, April 2019
                                                                                        • Long- and short-form content in dead heat for teens’ attention
                                                                                          • Figure 39: Teen video preferences, April 2019
                                                                                        • Teens have diverse video interests
                                                                                          • Figure 40: Number of teen video types watched, April 2019
                                                                                        • Girls and boys seek connection in different ways
                                                                                          • Figure 41: Teen video preferences, by gender, April 2019
                                                                                      • Sharing and Standing Out

                                                                                        • Key opportunity
                                                                                          • Teens keep personal details to themselves
                                                                                            • Figure 42: Attitudes toward sharing online, April 2019
                                                                                          • Exploration is important to most teens
                                                                                            • Figure 43: Attitudes toward discovery and standing out, April 2019
                                                                                        • Consumer Segmentation

                                                                                            • Factors
                                                                                                • Figure 44: Teen segmentation, April 2019
                                                                                              • Savvy Socialites (40%)
                                                                                                • Demographics
                                                                                                  • Characteristics
                                                                                                    • Opportunities
                                                                                                        • Figure 45: Consumer segmentation – Savvy Socialites, by demographics, April 2019
                                                                                                      • Online Outsiders (32%)
                                                                                                        • Demographics
                                                                                                          • Characteristics
                                                                                                            • Opportunities
                                                                                                                • Figure 46: Consumer segmentation – Online Outsiders, by demographics, April 2019
                                                                                                              • Pliable Players (28%)
                                                                                                                • Demographics
                                                                                                                  • Characteristics
                                                                                                                    • Opportunities
                                                                                                                      • Figure 47: Consumer segmentation – Pliable Players, by demographics, April 2019
                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                                    • Data sources
                                                                                                                      • Sales data
                                                                                                                        • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                                          • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                                            • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                              • Terms
                                                                                                                              • Appendix – The Market

                                                                                                                                  • Figure 48: Weekly teen income from paying job, October 2017-November 2018
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 49: Teen mobile device ownership and access at home, 2014-18
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 50: Teen smartphone and tablet ownership, by age, October 2017-November 2018
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 51: Teen internet access by location, 2014-18
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 52: Hours spent online, 2014-18
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 53: Social media frequency, 2014-18
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 54: Attitudes toward leisure time at home, 2014-18
                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Key Trends

                                                                                                                                  • Figure 55: Top 20 North American tours, by gross in millions, November 2017-November 2018
                                                                                                                              • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                                                                                  • Figure 56: Leisure activities, by other participants, April 2019
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 57: Top 20 favorite music genres of teens, 2017 and 2018
                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Correspondence Analysis

                                                                                                                                • Methodology
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 58: Correspondence Analysis – Principal map – Activities and socialization, March 2019