TikTok, Instagram influencers motivating teen spending on clothing brands online

Shein, Revolve and these brands promoted on Instagram and Snapchat are in high demand with teens

TikTok and other social media apps are influencing teen spending following a year of record lows, a new survey suggests.

While online shopping surged during the coronavirus pandemic, teens, in particular, are taking cues from social media apps to influence where they spend their money, according to the investment bank, Piper Sandler’s 41st semi-annual “Taking Stock With Teens” survey released Wednesday. 

TikTok and other social media apps are influencing teen spending online. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

The survey polled 7,000 teens across 47 states, aged 16-on-average and found teens are on target to spend around $2,165 each this year, down 5% from a year earlier when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, but up 1% from last fall. Teens have been buying from brands seen on Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat, such as affordable women’s apparel brands SHEIN, Revolve and Princess Polly. Amazon is still the No. 1 website frequented for purchases with 56% saying it's their go-to site, analysts suggested in the survey.


“In the wake of COVID-19 and given these consumers are digitally-native, we are not surprised to see online adoption at its highest ever this Spring. Snapchat & TikTok are the top-two social media platforms Erinn Murphy, Piper Sandler senior research analyst, said in the report. 


Teen women seem to be leading the charge in spending, according to the report. Indeed, 96% of women claim to shop online compared with 88% last year. Meanwhile, 92% of males said they shop online compared with 91% last year.

While teen spending on athletic apparel continues to dominate with brands like Nike and Lululemon in high demand among Gen Z, the survey also found skincare products continue to trend with the natural beauty movement. Up to 86% of teen women surveyed said they buy products based on brands they see being highlighted on TikTok with Ulta being the No. 1 preferred beauty destination against Sephora (46% vs. 39%) according to the report.