American Teens Still Flocking to the Malls for Holiday Shopping, Despite Being Tech Super Users

Just One Quarter (26%) of Teens Plan to Rein in Their Holiday Spending This Year

Friday, December 17, 2010

New York, NY – American teens are still flocking to the malls for holiday shopping despite most (61%) teens confessing to using the internet several times a day, according to a new Ipsos Public Affairs poll conducted via its newly formed teen omnibus.

The vast majority (61%) of teens will do the bulk of their holiday shopping in stores as opposed to online, while a very small proportion (6%) claim they’ll do the majority of their shopping online and not in-person. Nearly two in ten (16%) will strike a balance, splitting up their shopping half-and-half between online and in-store. Interestingly, two in ten (17%) say they won’t be doing any holiday shopping this season, perhaps relying on mom to buy brother that perfect gift.

Teens loitering at malls have long been the ire of adults and retailers alike, and it looks like that’s not about to change. While most (61%) teens can be classified as online super-users – defined as accessing the internet at least several times a day – they are not as embracing of online shopping as one might expect such a tech-savvy generation to be. And it’s not a lack of currency holding them back: nearly one half (46%) of teens, including a majority of those aged 16 and 17, have access to at least a checking/savings account, debit or credit card, or a pay-pal account.

According to Wade Valainis, a Senior Research Manager at Ipsos, “The mall has long been a gathering place for teens. Despite the proliferation of many other ways to communicate and socialize, this research shows teens aren’t just sitting in their rooms or basements texting each other. A lot may have changed in the past decade but teens are still wired to socialize in person and the mall is as good a place now as it used to be to get together”.

Despite a sputtering economic recovery, most American teens will be moving full steam ahead with their holiday shopping. Most (65%) say they’ll spend about the same amount of money as they did last year, while one in ten (10%) will loosen their purses strings and spend even more than last year. Just one quarter (26%) of teens say they’ll spend less on the holiday season this year than last year.

At the top of their shopping list this year is finding that perfect gift for mom or dad (82%), while most (63%) will also buy a gift for their brother and/or sister. Nearly four in ten (37%) teens will purchase gifts for their friends, while one in three (34%) will buy gifts for other relatives such as aunts and uncles, grandparents and cousins. Two in ten (17%) teens will buy a gift for their sweetheart – including 17% of 14 year olds! Others will buy gifts for pets (16%), teachers (11%) or some other individual (3%).

When thinking about who gives the best presents, eight in ten (82%) teens say that their parents give the best presents, while much further down the list is some other relative (13%) in the extended family. Just 2% of teens most look forward to the gift they receive from their brother or sister, and just 1% say they get the best present from their girlfriend or boyfriend.

But in the end, if they get the gift they want, it doesn’t really matter who gives it to them. According to the poll, among a list of gizmos and gadgets, fully one quarter (26%) of American teens most want a video game system for the holidays, whether it be a Playstation 3, Xbox 360 or some other device. Perhaps not surprisingly, boys (37%) are more than twice as likely as girls (14%) to want to unwrap this gift.

Nearly the same proportion (25%) wants a smartphone, such as a Droid, iPhone or Blackberry, the proportion of whom stays steady at 24% among 12 year olds! More girls (29%) than boys (20%) say that this would be their ideal tech gift this holiday season.

Technology giants may have found an interested segment for tablet devices among teens, as 15% say that’s the device they most want. Others (6%) are most interested in getting an electronic reader, such as a Kindle or Nook under the Christmas tree. Just three in ten (29%) say they wouldn’t want to get any of these devices this year.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted November 17-19, 2010. For the survey, a nationally representative sample of 1,009 randomly-selected teenagers residing in the U.S. interviewed by online in Ipsos' U.S. Online Teen Omnibus. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate within ±3.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire population of employed adults in the U.S. been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure the sample's regional and age/gender composition reflects that of the actual U.S. population according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Wade Valainis
Senior Research Manager
Ipsos Reid
Public Affairs
(312) 665-0552

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research. Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. In the U.S and internationally, Ipsos Public Affairs is the media polling supplier to Reuters News, the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, and the Hispanic polling partner of Telemundo Communications Group, a division of NBC Universal providing Spanish-language content to U.S. Hispanics and audiences around the world. Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

To learn more, please visit

About Ipsos

Ipsos is a leading global survey-based market research company, owned and managed by research professionals. Ipsos helps interpret, simulate, and anticipate the needs and responses of consumers, customers, and citizens around the world.

Member companies assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media. They measure public opinion around the globe. Ipsos member companies offer expertise in advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, and public affairs research, as well as forecasting, modeling, and consulting. Ipsos has a full line of custom, syndicated, omnibus, panel, and online research products and services, guided by industry experts and bolstered by advanced analytics and methodologies. The company was founded in 1975 and has been publicly traded since 1999. In 2009, Ipsos generated global revenues of €943.7 million ($1.33 billion U.S.). .

Visit to learn more about Ipsos offerings and capabilities.

Ipsos, listed on the Eurolist of Euronext – Comp B, is part of SBF 120 and the Mid-100 Index, adheres to the Next Prime segment and is eligible to the Deferred Settlement System. Isin FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP

American Teens Still Flocking to the Malls for Holiday Shopping, Despite Being Tech Super Users


Wade Valainis
Director, US
Ipsos Connect