Strong Teenage Market

Independent retailers finding retail space in today’s increasingly vacant malls and shopping centers may experience greater benefits beyond negotiable rent and lease terms, particularly for those mom and pops serving a younger demographic. While it may seem a cliché, teens make up the majority of traffic flow in today’s malls. However, their presence goes beyond the food court and the Friday night date scene, browsing the storefronts as a savvy, cash carrying market force that no retailer wants to turn away. A recent Scarborough Research survey revealed half of its 1,687 teen respondents nationwide spent at least two hours and $50 during their regular visit to the mall, while one-third spent at least $100 on their most recent trip.

Trendsetting Teens in the World of Retail

Teens are breaking trends all across the retail industry. For instance, while mom is typically seen as the decision maker when it comes to shopping for the household, today’s mothers are now seeking their teenagers’ advice, and allowing them to even make some of the buying decisions. Even Black Friday shoppers looked a little different this year, as young shoppers took over the metro area malls. Simply stated, retailers are beginning to see a loyal customer in today’s youth. Jessica Curtis, marketing manager for Clackamas, points out in a recent interview with, “They are loyal. Very loyal. They shop here, find entertainment here, eat here. The mall is their approved home away from home.”

While market researchers have estimated that the average teenage female has $600 in her bank account and boys closer to $800, the chance that most of the money will go towards retail purchases is likely. They do not have expenses brought on by adulthood. They have also been given the freedom to make their own decisions. “This generation has grown up being asked their opinion as early as age six. Not just what they want for breakfast, but what they want to wear and what store they want to go to,” says Amy Henry, VP of Chicago based C+R Research. “This generation grew up with much more autonomy.”

This piece is adapted from an article on