Study: Teens Still Big Mall Shoppers

For teens, going to the mall is as much about socializing, eating and entertainment as it is about shopping, even during the recession. Like other segments of the population, teens 12 to 17 are aware of and concerned about the economy, but unlike other segments, they’re going to the mall as often or more as they did before the economy cratered.

According to data to be released Wednesday (June 3) from two Scarborough surveys conducted among 1,687 teens between Oct. 2008 and Jan. 2009 and another 600 online respondents in April 2009, 62 percent of teens are going to the mall as often or more than they did before the recession hit.

With 77 percent saying they are concerned about the economy and 61 percent saying they have less money to spend than usual, teen spending habits are changing. Only 40 percent said they are spending about the same amount of money as they did six months ago.

During the recession, coupons and promotions are resonating with teens; 75 percent said discounts were more important; 48 percent said they use more coupons; and 52 percent said they were shopping less expensive stores.

As bargain shoppers, eight out of 10 teens find out about promotions, sales coupons and events from their friends. Seventy-five percent find out from coupons and promotions delivered to the home, and seven out of 10 teens find out via signage or flyers at the mall.

When it comes to how they spend their dollars, teens are spending the same or more on eating. Eating made up the top-three spending activities, with 69 percent buying snacks from the food court and 68 percent spending money at the food court. Sixty-six percent said they bought snacks from a specialty store, and 62 percent went to the movies. Eating a meal at a sit-down restaurants, one of the most frequent activities six months ago, is less common for 57 percent of teens.

Those teens that spend the most in the mall are also those most responsive to in-mall advertising. Of those that spend more, 77 percent said that advertising in the mall makes them want to go to specific stores.

During a teen’s typical 2.5-hour mall visit, 95 percent said they notice mall advertising, and nearly all of them, 97 percent, had positive reactions to it. Sampling was ranked as the coolest in-mall advertising, with moving images projected on the wall or floor the second coolest, followed by TV and video screens and interactive displays and kiosks.