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December 29, 2021

OMG! Teenagers cut back on holiday spending

Watching their parents lose jobs and worry about money seems to be forcing many teenagers to reevaluate their own spending habits. 

In fact, this younger group may actually be among the hardest hit, analysts suggest. 

"It is the most uneven recession ever. It's all young and working class for the most part ... In the labour and youth markets, I would call it a Great Depression," labour economist Andrew Sum told Reuters.

Sales are down sharply in recent months at nearly every major retail chain catering to teenagers, and the reasons go beyond teens’ own difficulty finding part-time jobs, says the New York Times. 

It seems, according to John D. Morris, a BMO Capital Markets analyst who conducts  sessions with teenagers to study retail trends, that young people are finally realizing that nearly everyone has been cutting back. As a result, they’ve been staying away from high end retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch, and looking for ways to get better value when they do purchase something.

“That to me is the confirmation that for them it’s not all about status labels and chasing trends. It’s more about enduring quality,” say Morris.

This is good news, believes Beth J. Harpaz, author of “13 Is the New 18”. She worries that the generation coming up focuses way too much on owning the latest gadget or the right brand-name sneaker.

The recession makes her even less enthusiastic about the notion that it's ok for kids to run out and buy things they don't need.

How do things work in your house? Are teenagers really cutting back?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...