Teens at the mall are potent shoppers

Articles
July 08, 2009

Teens at the mall are potent shoppers

Why do retailers and brand makers covet teens at the mall? What more can they do to capture their attention and spending? A recent Scarborough/Arbitron Teen Mall Shopper Insights White Paper offers answers that go beyond the stereotype of this key segment: First, in an economy where holding onto money appears more important than acquiring material goods, the teens often behave like holdouts from a happier era: More than half of teens studied spent $50 or more on the last visit to the mall; 29% spent $100 or more. Second, whether they doled out dough or not, a typical teen visit to the mall involves two hours or more; 28% spent three hours or more. Their #1 activity is shopping (71%), but 57% of the teens eat, 49% socialize, and 40% seek entertainment such as movies and video games, the research showed. The one constant: Almost 95% of teen mall shoppers, ages 12-17 who visited a mall within the prior 30 days, said they notice mall advertising. What do they notice most? Poster display ads, 91% Hanging advertising banners, 85% Sampling, 77% Promotional events, 58% TV video screens, 57% Interactive displays and kiosks, 48% Moving images projected on floors or walls, 31%

Why do retailers and brand makers covet teens at the mall? What more can they do to capture their attention and spending? A recent Scarborough/Arbitron Teen Mall Shopper Insights White Paper offers answers that go beyond the stereotype of this key segment:

First, in an economy where holding onto money appears more important than acquiring material goods, the teens often behave like holdouts from a happier era: More than half of teens studied spent $50 or more on the last visit to the mall; 29% spent $100 or more.

Second, whether they doled out dough or not, a typical teen visit to the mall involves two hours or more; 28% spent three hours or more. Their #1 activity is shopping (71%), but 57% of the teens eat, 49% socialize, and 40% seek entertainment such as movies and video games, the research showed.

The one constant:  Almost 95% of teen mall shoppers, ages 12-17 who visited a mall within the prior 30 days, said they notice mall advertising. What do they notice most?

  • Poster display ads, 91%
  • Hanging advertising banners, 85%
  • Sampling, 77%
  • Promotional events, 58%
  • TV video screens, 57%
  • Interactive displays and kiosks, 48%
  • Moving images projected on floors or walls, 31%

“Teens do in fact notice advertising in the mall. Our study shows they generally rate it positively,” said Jane Traub, senior vice president of research, Scarborough.  “The mall still serves a very prominent role in teen society….Marketers need to advertise to teens while they are in the process of establishing their purchase preferences.”

This begs the question, we believe at SupermarketGuru.com:  Might it make sense for appropriate food and beverage brands to sample, promote or otherwise advertise to teens in one of their most natural, comfortable settings?  Could brands present themselves with a health or party twist, for instance, to be more memorable in this environment? We could think of plenty of examples: good-for-you snacks, gum, enriched beverages, to name a few.

Just because they’re teens who usually spend doesn’t mean they’re not sensitive to savings opportunities. Two-thirds of the teen mall shoppers (66%) pay attention to advertising that features items for sale at the mall; three-quarters (75%) said “discounts on items they purchase at the mall are more important to them than they used to be,” the research noted.

Still, a majority (54%) said they have “spent more or about the same money on a typical visit to the mall than they did six months ago.”