TRU Projects Teens Will Spend $159 Billion In 2005

December 15, 2005

Northbrook, Ill. — Teens will spend $159 billion this year according to The TRU Study, the nation’s premier teen marketing and lifestyle survey published by Teenage Research Unlimited (TRU).

The figure represents a projection of total teen spending for 2005, including teens’ own cash and others’ money that they spend—typically their parents’.

Although teens’ overall spending level registered a 6% decline from one year ago, most 12- to 19-year-olds reported spending just as much of their own money in 2005 as they did last year. In fact, nearly all of the decrease seems to stem from less access to other people’s money.

According to TRU Vice President Michael Wood, teen consumers aren’t seeing eye-to-eye with experts who claim the economy is healthy and growing.

“From a teen’s point of view, these are times only an economist could love,” Wood says. “Teen unemployment levels have been high for several years as underemployed older workers make do with the sort of entry-level service jobs teens once held. Parents are still skittish about unemployment, so they’re not spreading the wealth around like they used to. And historically high gas prices mean that teens who drive are watching an unprecedented amount of their budget flowing directly into their gas tanks.”

But if their current spending is down, their optimism in next year is up. Nearly half (47%) believe they’ll spend more in 2006 than they did this year—that’s a significant increase over the 34% who said the same last year. Only 17% of teens said they believe they’ll spend less money next year than they did in 2005.

TRU polls more than 2,000 demographically representative teens to compile The TRU Study. The largest survey of its type, The TRU Study surveys a nationally representative sample of American teens twice yearly on trends, lifestyles, attitudes, and consumer behaviors. This year, TRU conducted more than 1,000 focus groups, in addition to many in-depth interviews and customized quantitative studies. In the past 23 years, TRU has interviewed nearly one million teenagers.

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For further information:

Rob Callender
222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 250
Chicago, IL 60656
+1 312.951-4822

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