Teen spending is bouncing back from pandemic lows, according to a recent survey of American teen consumer trends, and e.l.f. cosmetics (ELF) and Ulta (ULTA) are among the top beauty beneficiaries.
According to Piper Sandler’s latest semi-annual Generation Z survey, which gathered input from 7,100 teens in 44 states from February 16 to March 22, e.l.f ranked first as the preferred makeup brand for female teens while beauty retailer Ulta strengthened its position as the top beauty destination.
The category as a whole could be poised for growth, the analysts said, with spending on cosmetics, skincare, and fragrance increasing 10% year-over-year.
According to the survey, the number of teens who wear cosmetics daily rose to 37%, up from 21% a year ago. Additionally, teens who wear makeup every day spend an average of $83 more per year on beauty than the average cosmetics-wearing teen.
e.l.f., which previously held the second spot, beat out rivals Maybelline and Tarte for the top spot. Fenty Beauty by Rihanna and Sephora cosmetics, which are both owned by LVMH (LVMHF), also saw their positions improve, reaching the sixth and seventh spots respectively. Meanwhile, MAC and Too Faced, both subsidiaries of Estée Lauder (EL), lost ground among teens.
Ulta remained the favorite beauty and wellness retailer, followed by Sephora and Target. The analysts noted that Target’s strength in the third spot was bullish for the recent partnership between Ulta and Target, which is launching Ulta Beauty in 100 Target stores and Target.com.
“Target was the No. 3 preferred beauty destination at 9% mindshare — further giving us confidence in the importance of the Ulta/Target partnership,” the analysts wrote, despite teens’ preference for in-store purchases slowing somewhat.
While teens still preferred shopping in stores, they added, Amazon (AMZN) gained “in mindshare for favorite beauty shopping destinations.”
In a previous interview with Yahoo Finance, e.l.f. CEO Tarang Amin stated that the company was pivoting toward Gen Z consumers by offering affordable products and engaging with them on platforms such as TikTok and Twitch. The company even launched product lines in collaboration with Chipotle and Dunkin Donuts aimed to go viral with younger consumers.
Notably, TikTok surpassed Snapchat (SNAP) and Instagram (FB) for the first time and became teens’ favorite social media platform, the survey found.
Around 83% of female teens still go to online influencers more than any other source for beauty brands and trends, though that number was slightly down from last year. Word-of-mouth communication from friends was the second most important source of information when making a beauty purchase.
Edwin is a producer for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter @Edwin__Roman.