While Lauder's hip, urban-positioned cosmetics brand ranked No. 1, the company's Clinique brand-which is less expensive and long positioned as "entry level" in the prestige cosmetics category--slipped to the third slot.
For the survey, the investment house polled almost 600 teens and 60 of their parents via research field trips to malls in 11 cities across the U.S. and Canada on brand preferences and spending trends. In addition, another 1,200 surveys were conducted online on a national basis. The average age of students who participated was 16.6, and their parents were 46 years old on average. The national survey respondents carry an "upper-middle household income" of about $73,000, and the online survey respondent's average household income was $51,000.
Among parents, Mary Kay took the No. 1 makeup brand spot, pushing Clinique down a notch to the second most popular brand since Piper Jaffray's fall survey.
In terms of shopping habits, teen girls in both surveys prefer to purchase skin care and cosmetics in discount channels. Although the Baby Boomer moms polled said they spend less time shopping for cosmetics and skin care in department stores, it's still that group's preferred channel for actually purchasing those items.
With outlets like Sephora, Bath & Body Works and stand-alone specialty stores growing in popularity, department store brands will likely have to look outside for significant growth. "Teens prefer to purchase skin care and cosmetics in discount channels ... and channel changes are likely to continue for Estee Lauder given its main distribution channel is the department store," Neely Taminga of Piper Jaffray wrote.
For instance, the surveys found that the Estee Lauder brands (which include MAC, Clinique and the Lauder flagship brand), were the most popular among 20% of respondents, compared to 25% in the fall survey.
For fragrances, neither Clinique or Estee Lauder SKUs ranked in the top 10 with teens, although Estee Lauder was among the top for parents-not surprising given the department store preference for the demographic, according to Taminga.
Regarding other fragrance brands, Burberry moved up from No. 8 to No. 3 among teens between the fall and now. In addition, Piper Jaffray said there were "a couple of mentions" of Banana Republic's new Discover collection of fragrances, but "none meaningful enough to rank within the top 10, likely because the chain's target customer is between 25 and 45 years old."
As an all-around favorite fragrance, Victoria's Secret ranked No. 1 for teen girls, while Intimate Brands' other chain, Bath & Body Works, ranked No. 5 as the favorite fragrance/store for teens.
Spending on fragrances was virtually the same for teens and adults, with all females spending $75 to $87 on an average-size bottle of eau de parfum. As a whole, spending on skin care and cosmetics was up 7% versus six months ago, and 12% versus last spring.
As for marketing tactics, according to this survey brands would be best served by looking at the lower-cost media efforts first as teenagers ranked friends and word of mouth the biggest influencers, followed by magazines and lastly TV ads.
And those celebrity endorsements? Perhaps they really are wearing thin. Of eight influencers, celebrity spokesperson ranked a lowly 6 among teens and 8 with moms--versus results last fall, when celebrities were the No. 2 influencer for teenagers nationwide.