Retailers target teens to ride out recession


Watch out! Major retailers believe they have found a "recession proof" group of shoppers -- your teenager.

In a bid to avoid the closing of stores at malls nationwide, retailers are looking to capitalize on the influence teens have over household purchases. They believe that middle class teens won't feel the affects of a recession. Research shows that teens influence 90% of grocery and apparel purchases. Many stores are changing displays and using big names to lure a trend conscious younger market in their doors. The hope is that parents will come along too and buy items as well, further boosting the stores sales in an otherwise difficult time.

I see several issues with this strategy, one, which USA Today points out, is that children typically do not shop in the same stores their parents do. Call it rebellion or a strange fashion sense, but the last place most teenagers want to go is the same store their mom just bought a pantsuit at.

The second issue is, even teenagers who can't drive don't like to go shopping with their parents. Growing up, my sister and I would beg to be dropped off at the local mall with cash or mom's credit card rather than be forced to try on a plethora of clothes with mom in tow. If teens don't want to be in the same building, let alone the same store with their parents retailers will have difficulty raking in the extra impulse buys from parents.

Finally, if your teenager is influencing 90% of the grocery and apparel purchases for your household, you better be raking in the cash, because from my personal experience, teens tend to have expensive taste in clothing and food. Next time you head to the grocery store leave Johnny at home and during your next trip to the mall, show Suzy where TJ Maxx is.