The "Taking Stock with Teens" panel at ICR XChange has become an annual conference tradition, drawing large crowds of investors, analysts, and company executives.
Thursday's panel featured 15 teens from Miami Springs Senior High School who discussed trends in social media, brands, and technology.
On the social media front, one boy emphatically declared, "Facebook is dead." Many panelists said they rarely use Facebook and had turned to Instagram instead to share photos with smaller groups of friends. Facebook is losing popularity because users "overdo it" and share too much personal information, they explained. A few teens said they had lost interest in social networks altogether.
"I use Facebook and Twitter, but I guess I'm out of style now," one boy said.
Among teenage girls, retailer Forever 21 was a clear favorite for its fashion-forward styles and affordability. Many of the girls said they shopped there and at other inexpensive stores such as Target and Marshall's to recreate looks inspired by celebrities. Some teenage boys said they were influenced by Hollywood style as well, preferring brands such as Levi's, Nike, and Converse.
Despite their affinity for low-end retailers like Forever 21, the girls showed enthusiasm for designer-name handbags and watches, especially Michael Kors. Some said they would save up money from part-time jobs and allowances to buy a more expensive, high-quality purse or watch.
Most teens on the panel bashed the brands Aeropostale and Hollister, calling them "so middle school." JCPenney also caught a lot of flak because of its "generic-looking" clothes. The retailer underwent a brand refresh last year, but that effort has clearly been ineffective in reaching the teen demographic.
The panelists' derision toward logos displayed on clothing provided more interesting insight into teen brand preferences.
"I want to sell myself, not the brand," one girl said. The one exception to the no-logo rule was athletic clothing.
When asked which smartphone they would prefer if money were not an object, the panel was evenly split between the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy. But one girl's answer came as a surprise.
"I'd want a Blackberry," she said, eliciting laughter from the crowd.
"I didn't know that company still existed," said one investor in the audience.