What teen spending can tell us about the economy

Plus, how Emily Ratajkowski is reclaiming her image with an NFT

Apr 30, 2021 | Current events | Spending Habits
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Smells like teen spending

Teen girls are shopping again, just like they did toward the end of the Great Recession. They’re leading the post-pandemic recovery with splurges on clothing, skincare, and handbags. And spending by upper-income teen girls has hit a high that researchers haven’t seen since 2013. Meanwhile, male spending is still falling. On average, teens plan to spend about $2,165 this year — up 1% from last fall when their spending hit a two-decade low. When it comes to brands, favorites include Nike, American Eagle, and Louis Vuitton. But not every retail purchase needs to be new, especially during the pandemic when online resellers have thrived. Teens are participating on both sides of secondhand sales with 47% having purchased and 55% having sold secondhand. New or used, thank you for shopping, kids.

Sneaky, sneaky

Your weekly trip to the grocery store is about to get more expensive. Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola have joined the list of companies set to increase their prices as early as late June. And they hope you'll be too busy soaking up the sun to notice. Remember stockpiling peanut butter and diapers last year? Well, companies are still catching up on inventory after sales of consumer goods climbed 9.4%. Meanwhile, farmer and factory costs have increased, and a shortage of truck drivers has mounted. On top of that, the cost of raw materials has skyrocketed, putting pressure on profits. With retailers still adjusting to higher pandemic-era costs (think: grocery delivery or curbside pickup), expect consumers to bear the brunt of these new changes. Stores are already getting creative to roll out price hikes under the radar. Tactics include fresh packaging, smaller products for the same price, and temporary promotions to acclimate shoppers to higher prices.

You don’t own me

Bad news. Your frequent flier miles aren’t really yours, and airlines don’t safeguard your rewards under lock and key until you’re ready to use them. These loyalty programs are designed for the airline to win, not you. Airlines reserve the right to change the rules and benefits any time, with or without notice, even if that makes your rewards less valuable. Unlike airline credit cards that reward you with miles, cash back cards tie your rewards to a fixed dollar amount or percentage, so you can avoid getting swindled. Also, keep an eye on any news around mergers and acquisitions so you don’t miss a beat if your program goes out of business. Another airline secret? When flying, don’t get the coffee.

Model/writer/digital artist?

Emily Ratajkowski is selling an NFT. The digital work shows @emrata posing in front of a painting by Richard Prince. The painting is a blown up image from the model's Instagram. Capiche? Prince formerly printed one of Ratajkowski’s photos, hung it in a New York gallery, and priced it at $90,000 without her knowledge or consent. The NFT is Ratajkowski’s way of taking back ownership over her likeness and how her body is digitally distributed. The art within art within art (er, Instagram snap) uses Mr. Prince’s painting the same way he used her photo, showing just how murky the world of digital copyright and NFTs can be.