Teen Splurge in Back-To-School Luxury
By Tom Ryan
Forget notebooks and pencils. Teens and tweens enamored with celebrities and fashion are looking for $200 designer handbags and $100-plus jeans this back-to-school season.
The increased luxury spend by teens arrives as websites, tabloids and TV shows detailing celebrities and fashion make kids more aware of luxury goods than ever before.
“They’re prime candidates for luxury,” Gerald Celente, publisher of Trends Journal told The Associated Press. “Their world is the entertainment world and that’s what they’re focused into.”
Jacqueline Nasser, ELLEgirl Fashion Market Editor, said teens take their cues from shows like “Laguna Beach,” “The O.C.,” “The Hills” and “My Super Sweet 16” that portray a high-class lifestyle.
“They have been surrounded by celebrities and TV programs where fashion is the central point,” she said. “They even have younger celebrities in the ads for designer labels–Scarlett Johansson for Louis Vuitton, Lindsay Lohan for Jill Stuart, etc.”
Bloomingdale’s fashion director Stephanie Solomon said teen shoppers at department stores nationwide this year are looking for $300 Chanel sunglasses, designer handbags by Marc Jacobs, Chanel and Chloe–which can cost between $900 and $1,250–and $200 to $300 Tory Burch shoes.
“It’s really about the accessories,” she said. “The fact that you can wear sunglasses every day and carry the same handbag every day justifies the expense.”
Also, the recent surge in lower priced lines by designers–Marc by Marc Jacobs, for example, or Proenza Schouler for Target–help teens afford designer fashion, but have also made them aware of even higher-priced lines.
“They’re a segue into the designer sectors,” said Ms. Solomon.
The increased spending comes as the luxury market prospers while mid-tier and discount retailers feel the brunt of rising gas prices and the depressed housing market.
Amy Klaris, a branding specialist at consulting firm Kurt Salmon Associates, said that where parents put their foot down depends on their income. While a Prada wardrobe might be too much, a parent might be more willing to spend on a key-item accessory.
“They want their kids to fit in,” she said. “They’re still buying t-shirts at Target, but still having that (luxury) handbag.”
Discussion Question: How sizeable is the luxury opportunity in teens and tweens? What do you think is driving this trend? Should retailers reaching this customer be aggressively pursuing this opportunity or should some caution be applied?
- Teens add luxury accessories to back-to-school wardrobes – The Associated Press/The Kansas City Star