The teenage market – a recession-proof niche?

With recession biting, many people are cutting back on spending. This has not been even across products, however. People have tended to shift from more luxurious products, such as foreign holidays and branded products, to holidays at home and supermarkets’ own-brand products (see Shoppers opt for supermarket brands Financial Times (4/8/09)). There has also been a decline in spending on consumer durables, such as cars, furniture and kitchen appliances.

One sector that has fared better than most, however, is the teenage market. “So far it seems teenagers have not cut back on their shopping. Teen-targeted retailers such as Primark, New Look, H&M, Asos and Hot Topic are all weathering the recession better than rivals aimed at an older demographic.” This is a quote from the first of the two linked articles below, which look at this market and its future prospects.

Teenage spenders struggle to learn BBC News (4/8/09)
Hollister: the shop that smells like teen spirit Times Online (5/8/09)


  1. How is spending on particular products during a recession related to their income elasticity of demand? How does the income elasticity of demand depend on the length of the time period under consideration?
  2. Why has the teenage market been less susceptible to the recession than many other markets?
  3. To what extent will being ‘bargain savvy’ be enough for teenagers to survive the recession without having to make substantial changes in spending patterns? Consider the concept of price elasticity of demand in your answer.