Top 30 Best Teen Brands and Stores (and the Worst) 2017
Based on teen readers and a poll conducted by Business Weekly, these are the best teen brands, and the brands teens hate. Companies love creating brands for Gen Z teens, and with the influx of teen and tween influencers and celebrities (eg. Stranger Things), it’s no surprise. A lot of brands aren’t paying attention, though. They don’t realize who their audience is, who the new teen is and what she wants. They also don’t realize that most teens are spending their own money. So, marketing to the parents is no longer a good idea.
In fact, so many companies and brands who have failed to keep up with retail trends or connect the dots with their teen audience have gone under. In recent years, we have seen hundreds of stores close. American Apparel, Wet Seal, Rue 21, Gymboree, PacSun, Aeropostale and many other companies have been forced to file for bankruptcy as well. This could be the result of the fast fashion boom and competition online, although a lot of teens say they still do prefer to shop in the stores they find “Cool” (But they kind of hate the Malls for ‘hanging out’). In other words, create a very pleasant experience for them to shop, and they’re game.
What are Coolest Teen Stores?
In their words, these are the elements that defines a “cool store” atmosphere for teens shopping:
- ”Good music, cute clothes, chill atmosphere, modern and sleek.”
- “Good prices, good customer service/atmosphere.”
- “Well made/good looking products, aesthetics, good customer service.”
- “Don’t over-perfume the store.” (ahem, Abercrombie and Hollister? TY)
- “Great clothes, friendly workers, music”
- “Easy to find things, lots of options/sizes, helpful sales associates”
- “They have stuff I like. Period.”
What Do Teens Like?
Retailers are now trying to zero in on what teens want, and the big questions they’re asking are:
What do teens want? What do they like or dislike? What brands are hot and what brands are..not?
With styles moving so fast because technology moves even faster, how will retailers keep up? While a lot of brands aren’t paying attention, there are a few key players who definitely are. For example, Sephora and NYX. In order for companies to stay relevant, They’re going to have to really meet their customer. If they don’t realize who their audience is, who the new teen is and what she wants, how in the world are they going to sell anything to her? Online shopping, in-store experience combined with brand recognition and social outreach is the key to reaching your target audience now.
Do Teens Like Logo Clothing?
In terms of style, everything seems to be very ironic. Even logo clothing is worn in an almost ironical way. We see this with the new influx of the rock band tees, CK and Tommy Hilfiger trends. These were clothes teens wore in the 90s, so it’s more of a harken to this era than even brand recognition or support. In fact, most teens don’t listen to the band or really care about displaying brands (well, unless it’s a luxury brand).
What’s the number one factor for teens when it comes to deciding if they’ll buy apparel or not?
56.36% = Style
30.91% = Price
4.55% = Brand
Teens care more about how clothes look than its name brand, or even its price -Unless it’s a handbag.
Many teens look to Instagram and the pop culture tv shows, fashion bloggers or fave celebs for so much inspiration these days. And generally where they connect is online through social accounts. If a brand isn’t established on their platforms or reaching out to key influencers, it risks the chance of getting severely lost in a very large sea.
Teens no longer care about how awesome your mall store is or was. They now care about who is wearing your clothes, what is your brand image or message, what styles you offer in their price range and how you connect with them.
They have learned that Zara makes awesome styles at prices they can afford and they do value quality.
What do Teens Like to Wear?
Well, basically whatever they feel like. They are not as driven by wearing everything that everyone else is wearing (mostly) or what’s in style at the moment. They are more eclectic. They wear what they feel like wearing and play with different styles. They honestly don’t give a crap what people think about what they’re wearing as long as they like it.
Some days you will find teens wearing something casual, or preppy, classic, vintage-inspired or even bohemian. It really just depends on the mood. What I found interesting is that most teens who responded to the poll are a no-fuss dresser. Most prefer a classic, casual look.
To find out what teens really like and what they hate, (ok, stores they dislike most) Business Insider polled 110 teens, ages 12-18 (30% Males and 70% Females) and this was the result:
The 30 Best Brands & Stores for Teens:
- Brandy Melville
- Forever21 – Many teens say they’d rather shop elsewhere but sometimes their budget only allows for F21 clothing
- Urban Outfitters
- Abercrombie (major comeback happening with the new look at AF. Fewer logos, no naked models = good)
- Tommy Hilfiger
- CK (we can’t get enough of those throwback CK tees)
- American Eagle
- Victorias Secret, PINK
- Sperry (It’s all about those Duckboots)
- Golden Goose
- Michael Kors
- Kate Spade
- Louis Vuitton
- Saint Laurent
- North Face
The 10 Worst Teen Brands of 2017 (ok, LEAST favorite):
- The Buckle
- Cotton On
- Juicy Couture
- True Religion
- Hot Topic
- Coach (on the decline)
What Teens Hate About Stores:
(in their own words)
- Messy appearance.
- Stores that feel like your parents joining Facebook (clearly older adults trying to be cool but failing)
- Too many directions of apparel, teens do not like being outed as teens,
- The word ‘swag’
- If you’re 40+ and just hearing about it then you’re too late to the party.
- Dirty, no cool stuff, no music, bad smell.
- Only seeing a bunch of 12-year-olds in the store.
- Ugly clothes
- Logo overload. When the staff thinks they’re too cool, even though they are working for $8/hour.
- Plastering their logo all over their merchandise, overpricing their poor quality clothes and acting like they’re better than you (paraphrased), we all know they’re just a has-been store whose same exact styles can be found elsewhere for better prices.
- High prices.
- If it’s bland, no music and has no bathrooms
There you have it, ladies: What Teens Really Want and The Best and Worst Brands and Stores of 2017.
I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts!