Plus, teens prefer fast-casual joints like Chipotle, Starbucks and Chick-fil-A over full-service eateries
Gen Z is craving food over fashion.
Teenagers are spending more money on food today than on clothing, according to Piper Jaffray’s biannual Taking Stock With Teens study as reported by CNBC.
Researchers surveyed 6,000 teens aged 16 on average. Of those, 1,400 teens had an average household income of about $100,000, while the other 4,600 had a mean income of around $56,000. The study found that upper-income teens are spending 24% of their cash on food — 4% more than they’re spending on clothes. And teens from average-income homes are spending about 21% on food, 2% higher than their spending on apparel.
The study also found that Gen Z, the demographic that follows millennials, isn’t dining out at full-service restaurants, but fast-casual eateries and cafes where they can linger for extended periods of time to socialize with friends. In spring 2009, 57% of teens preferred full-service restaurants; however, in 2018, 65% of teens would prefer to eat at a limited-service chain. The top three favorites include Chick-fil-A at No. 1, followed by Starbucks and Chipotle. Teens are spending more money on dinner, the study found, with 66% of meals happening at night. Breakfast, meanwhile, accounted for 2% of meal occasions, while lunch was about 20%.
Experts say the shift in buying preferences is not just about the food, but also the social experience in an age of social media and constant connectedness.
“This is a generation that’s hungry for social interaction,” clinical psychologist Dr. Shaun Wehle told Moneyish. “It’s more about the experience. They’re finding a way to build relationships with one another through sharing a meal together.”
It’s worth noting that Gen Z-ers spend 41% of their time outside of school with tablets, computers and cellphones multitasking between multiple screens, compared to 22% a decade ago, according to a Sparks & Honey report.
Gen Z is on track to become the most influential generation of consumers by 2020, accounting for $29 to $143 billion in direct spending.
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