Teen girls seek balance but still spend

The economy's "slow recovery" is living up to its name. But the teen girls we've talked to as part of The Sisterhood—Euro RSCG Worldwide PR's agency within an agency that reaches out directly to this amazingly powerful demographic—are handling the downturn pragmatically and with panache.

The economy's “slow recovery” is living up to its name. But the teen girls we've talked to as part of The Sisterhood—Euro RSCG Worldwide PR's agency within an agency that reaches out directly to this amazingly powerful demographic—are handling the downturn pragmatically and with panache.

As summer winds down, this group is ahead of the cash curve, with more money to spend than last year, and genuinely eager to head back to school. We polled hundreds of girls nationwide and spoke to YouTube sensation Juicystar07 (Blair Fowler, 17, a fashion guru for her hundreds of thousands of followers) to discover what's trending as teens everywhere return to class.

We found they're earning more but understand the lure of a good deal. Note to marketers: brands really need to step up their game in the face of these girls' savvy shopping.

Some of our findings include:

  • 58% plan to spend the same amount or more of their own money than last year for back-to-school goods
  • Close to 60% will likely shop at Target or Wal-Mart for back-to-school purchases
  • 63% will buy fewer brand-name goods than last year
  • Nearly 60% are more excited to go back to school than they were last year

Fowler told us: “Teen girls seem super-excited to head back to school this year, and my followers are writing me every day about their latest purchases. The hot styles are jeggings (jean leggings), neon, military jackets, oversize totes and ankle boots (if they're wearing heels). Teens are buying and wearing what they love in order to find their personal best style.”

One member of The Sisterhood, 15-year-old Skylar Dorosin, of Palo Alto, CA, confirmed that jeggings are on trend; they're “just as cute as jeans, and cheaper, too.” She and her friends are de-friending some technology—“deleting their cyberselves” because of stalking “creepers” and upcoming college applications—and buddying up to another: iPads, which are versatile and easy to tote.

She also tells us that she and her peers are looking for, of all things, balance. Another Sisterhood member, Taryn Murphy, 16, of Wilton, CT, says a goal of hers is “balance and chilling.” The search for this elusive state is the result of teens spreading themselves thin—from being tutored for the SAT to playing varsity sports and taking honors classes to spending time with friends.

It seems “balance” is a buzzword that now spans the generations.

Marian Salzman is president of Euro RSCG Worldwide PR, North America, and sits on the board of the Council of Public Relations Firms.

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