The 26th semi-annual “Taking Stock With Teens” consumer insights project for Piper Jaffray & Co. finds evidence that teens are experiencing general spending fatigue across key categories, specifically fashion. That moderation in spending comes despite over two-thirds signaling confidence the economy is stable to improving.

“We are also observing trends that imply teens are browsing regularly on their mobile devices, shopping less frequently and engaging with brands ‘on demand’ on their own time,” said Steph Wissink, co-director of research and senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray. Those findings obviously present challenges to retailers who are focused on teen buyers.

The fashion category accounts for roughly 39% of teen budgets, consistent with prior survey cycles. However, spending declined mid-single digits to the prior year and prior season. Shopping frequency declined and trip measures are down nearly 25% from prior peak. Within the fashion category specifically, footwear is outperforming apparel and accessories.

Teens are shopping less in single brand, vertically integrated stores and more in multi-branded, multi-category and online retail environment. Approximately 78% of females and 82% of males shop online, and respondents indicated that a mid-teens percentage of their spending is online. Roughly 60-70% of teens indicate they prefer to shop the Websites of their favorite store-based retailers. In addition, teens prefer labels to logos and seek value in their purchases, owing to the rise of spending in the outlet and off-price channels. Approximately 71% of teen girls and 57% of teen boys shop at off-price stores and 52% and 45%, respectively, indicated it is popular to do so. The shift toward digital is obvious. DVD by mail and streaming account for 52% of movie rentals.

Teens have cited “friends” as the strongest influence over their purchase decisions for the duration of Piper Jaffray’s survey history, but “Internet” is quickly rising in profile. More than half of teens indicate that social media impacts their purchases.