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Teens clothes
April/May 2005

Teens reveal...

how, why & where they shop

More than 1 000 teens told us which clothing and shoe brands they prefer, which ones they own and which ones they know. They also told us where they prefer to shop and how they select what they buy

Teenagers are mall-crawlers who shop by browsing in stores, stopping to buy when the colour, cut or style of a pair of shoes or item of clothing catches their eye. They are not really particular about which store they buy from, they will buy from the store that stocks the item they like. These messages came through strongly in the more than 1000 responses received in the SA Sports Trader Teen Brand Survey (see box below).

Therefore, if a brand wishes to appeal to 15-17 year olds, it must make sure that it is available in retail stores. This seems to be the factor that is most likely to determine if teens will buy a shoe or item of clothing:

  • Nearly half (48%) of the respondents say they buy items because they saw it while browsing in stores — the reason why they would buy shoes or clothing;

  • By far the highest number of respondents (44%) say they buy from any store, which also indicates a pattern of impulse buying: seeing an item, wanting it and then buying. They do not necessarily go to a specific store because they like the store as such — although it is interesting that the second highest number of respondents (28%) shop at sport stores, many more than those that shop at exclusive boutiques (8%).

  • This would, however, imply that the location of a store is very important if you want to catch the teenage trade. Retailers situated in malls or shopping centres where teenagers are likely to hang out, will obviously benefit.

  • More than half (55%) say they prefer a footwear or clothing brand because of the cut, style or colour of its products, which also indicates that visual appeal, rather than other external factors, influence their brand preferences.

  • Brand loyalty does play a significant role — but it is not as important to teens as one would expect. Less than 40% said that they would buy shoes or clothing with a specific brand name because I trust the brand name. There is 9% difference between the number who browse and buy, and the number who buy because they want a specific brand.

    Consumer adverts also play a far lesser role in convincing teens to buy a brand than retail availability — only 17% said that they buy an item because they saw it advertised.

    They certainly do NOT rush out to buy a brand because a pop, movie or sport star wears it. Only 7% say they will go and buy an item of clothing or shoes brand because it is worn/endorsed by a star, and only 5% say that a certain brand is their favourite because it is endorsed by a favourite movie, pop or sport star.

    Nor are their friends a major influence on whether they buy a specific shoe or clothing item (only 7%). And the factor they are least likely to consider when deciding to buy or not, is whether an item is Made in SA.

    Apart from the visual appeal (style, colour etc), comfort is the next most important consideration (for 31%) when they choose a clothing or footwear brand — with psychological boosting factors like Makes you feel good/cool (21%) and expensive brand as status symbol (4%) playing a far lesser role in brand choices.

    Good value for money is also a low priority (17%) — probably because the parents of 75% of the respondents pay for their clothes and only 14% buy clothes from money they earned. Less than a third (27%) buy clothes or shoes from their pocket money, or a clothing allowance.

    The fact that a surprisingly low number of respondents (2%) say they buy from flea markets is good news for retailers and everyone concerned about counterfeit products.

    While most (44%) do not seem to care, or notice, in which kind of store they buy their clothes, a relatively high number (28%) say they buy from sport stores — which correlates with the fact that sportswear and surfing brands feature so strong amongst the top twenty brands owned and aspired to.

    Adidas is not only the most recognised brand, it is also owned by most respondents and most respondents (128) said it was their #1 favourite brand.

    It would be interesting to determine in a further study whether the teens purchase clothes and shoes from sports stores because they have a sport or performance link (e.g. adidas could be seen as a soccer brand), or because they simply like the style and cut of sports brands.

    The fact that a top performance running shoe brand like Asics, for instance, is only recognised by 30% of the respondents and owned by 8%, seem to indicate that performance does not play a major role in the choice of apparel.

    In fact, all sports brands where performance features play the most important role, rather than the fashion/lifestyle aspects, tend to be less recognisable, or less likely to be owned, than brands that are also known for their fashion appeal.

    One could, therefore, surmise that the majority of the teens who shop at sport stores do so because they know they will find the cut, style or brand that they like, rather than because they are interested in the performance features of the ranges.

    If sport retailers are situated in areas where teenagers browse, they would therefore benefit from also stocking the lifestyle/athleisure ranges from sports brands.

    It is interesting that the number of respondents who recognise a brand, corresponds closely with the number who own the brand. With the exception of Volcom and Soviet, the top 20 most recognised brands are also the top 20 most owned brands. Further down the list, the next twenty brands recognised by the respondents are also owned by them, and so on, to the next twenty, etc.

    The respondents were given a list of 88 shoe and clothing brands from which to select the ones they recognise, or own — fashion, sportswear, surfing, skate, outdoor, in-store brands, you name it, were all ranked alphabetically. They could also add the names we missed.

    One would expect that brands like adidas, Nike, Reebok, Billabong etc. would be recognised by 100% of the respondents ... which is not the case.

    Five of the top twenty brands recognised and owned have a sporting heritage — with adidas topping both lists and Nike and Billabong jockeying for second place. A sports brand like Reebok is also more frequently recognised than surf brands like Quiksilver, Hang Ten, Lizzard, O’Neill etc. or fashion brands like Diesel, Levi or Soviet.

    Surf brands

    Surf brands are exceptionally well represented in the top 20 brands owned and recognised — ten of the top twenty brands recognised and owned are surfing brands. More respondents, for instance, own BadBoy/Girl than brands like Reebok, Diesel, Levi or Puma.

    An in-house (Ackermanns) surf brand likeHang Ten is not only recognised by more teens than Puma or Levi, it is also owned by more than Quiksilver, BadBoy/Girl, Island Style and Reebok.

    In a follow-up article we will give a breakdown of the geographical areas where these brands were most popular.

    Fashion/lifestyle brands like Diesel, Levi, Soviet and Jockey are well recognised and are amongst the top twenty brands owned by the respondents — but the overwhelming support expressed for Diesel and Levi in previous, smaller Sports Trader surveys amongst predominantly urban-based teens, is diluted in this bigger, more representative sample.

    On the other hand, house brands (brands only available from one retailer) like Hang Ten and the Mr. Price brand, Red, which hardly featured in the previous surveys, are amongst the top five brands owned and also have a very high recognition rate.

    Red is the brand owned by the fourth highest number of respondents — just behind adidas, Billabong and Nike. And it is followed by Hang Ten, which would indicate that price plays a role when buying brands.

    Other retailers’ exclusive brands, however, are recognised and owned by a far smaller number of the respondents. The other Mr Price brand, River Trader, is recognised by 32% and owned by 16%, Edgars’ Kelso brand is recognised by 26% and owned by 9% and the Cape Union Mart brand K-Way is recognised by 15% and owned by 4% ... with brands like Body Logic, Columbia, Free2BU and YDE hardly featuring.

    Aspirational brands

    When asked to name the six brands they would choose if given the option to wear any brands they liked, the picture changed considerably.

    Adidas is the brand that most respondents chose as their #1 favourite (13%), followed by Billabong (12%), but Puma (6%) moves into the #3 slot, followed by Nike (5%) and surf brand Roxy (5%).

    Affordable brands owned by a large number of respondents, like Hang Ten and Red, are not amongst the top twenty most wanted brands. But, they would love to own brands like Dolce & Gabana and Gucci ... if they could afford them. Which seems to indicate that price does play a role in which brands they buy. Only 6% of the respondents actually own a Gucci item and 2% have Dolce & Gabana in their cupboards.

    Although Sissy Boy and Converse are only owned by 172 (17%) and 104 (10%) of the respondents respectively, these brands inspire very strong loyalty, as they are amongst the top twenty #1 favourite brands.

    Six favourite brands

    When comparing all brands selected as one of the six that the respondents would most like to wear, surf brands still feature strong in the top 20 (Billabong topping the list). Surf brands like Hang Ten and O’Neill have, however, dropped out of the top 20.

    Fashion brands make a much stronger showing in the top twenty, compared to the number of respondents who own or recognise them. Eight fashion brands feature in the top twenty most wanted brands — and most of them are priced at the high end of the market (e.g. Calvin Klein, Gucci)

    The fact that only sports brands that extensively market lifestyle ranges like adidas, Nike and Puma, feature in the top twenty aspirational brands, seem to support the premise that most respondents like a fashionable look, but buy other sportswear brands because they are more accessible or affordable.

    This would tie in with the buying habits indicated: it is unlikely that a group of teenagers would feel comfortable browsing in a store selling Gucci — but they would look at an advert and say I wish. They would therefore like the brand, but would hardly buy it.

    Most of the first choice brands remain under the top 20 selected. Only Dolce & Gabana and Converse are replaced by Calvin Klein.

    About a third of the respondents say that Levi and Diesel are amongst their favourite brands — but about the same number of respondents already own these brands.

    This analysis is based on feedback from all 1 014 of the Grade 10 (15-17 year old) respondents, irrespective of the area they come from (urban/rural; coastal/inland), their language group or gender.

    Below we are taking a closer look at how the above demographics influence their brand choices or shopping habits.

    Sports Trader teen brand respondent profile:

    During February-March 2005 SA Sports Trader sent questionnaires to Grade 10 learners (average age 15-17 years) in schools across SA in which we asked questions about clothing brand recognition, preferences, ownership and shopping habits. We received the following responses:

  • 1 014 responses from Grade 10s

  • Learners from 14 schools

  • Geographical areas: Western Cape: 30%; North West: 19%; Gauteng: 17%; Eastern Cape: 15%; Free State and KwaZulu/Natal: 8% each; Mpumalanga: 2% and Northern Cape: 1%.

  • Languages of education: English: 36%; Afrikaans 36%; Zulu, Tswana, Sotho, Xhosa or other indigenous languages: 29%.

  • Home languages of respondents: Afrikaans: 63%; other indigenous languages: 17%; English: 15%.

  • Gender: 51% male; 49% female.

  • Part 2:

    The language groups

    More than 1 000 teens told us which clothing and shoe brands they prefer, own and know. They also told us where they prefer to shop and how they select what they buy. In this 2nd part, we discuss the different responses of the language groups

    South Africa is such a fascinating country because the population is so diverse. We speak eleven languages. We live in metropoles and remote tribal villages. Some of us own mansions, others corrugated iron shacks. Some of us wear Gucci and Armani, others can not afford shoes for school.

    It stands to reason that we will not all think alike, have the same shopping habits, nor like the same brands.

    But, it is no easy task to group all these diversities together to form demographic sample groups for a survey. When we asked Grade 10 learners (15-17 year olds) about their shopping habits and brand preferences, we decided to use three demographic indicators:

  • Home language (as indicated by respondents)

  • Profile of schools as described on their websites

  • Area where school is situated: province, rural or urban

  • Above we gave a brief summary of the feedback we received from all respondents. Here we break their responses down according to home language, and in the next issue (August) we will look at the differences between the different areas where the schools are situated.

    Indigenous language speakers

    Unfortunately, only 18% of our sample group speak an indigenous African language at home — while census statistics (Census in Brief. Third Edition, July 1999. Published by Statistics SA) show that 76.5% of the population speak indigenous languages. The views of this group should therefore carry more weight than the other two language groups, because they are by far in the majority in the general population.

    According to the census statistics 98.7% of the indigenous language speakers are African/black.

    In our sample, the schools attended by indigenous language speakers can be profiled as follows:

  • 44% attend township schools situated in communities with predominantly poor households;

  • 44% attend English-medium government schools in inland urban areas;

  • 8% attend exclusive, upmarket private English schools;

  • 4% attend urban Afrikaans medium government schools

  • This language group, on average, own the least number of clothing and shoe brands, namely eight.

    Afrikaans language group

    Afrikaans is the language used by most (65%) of the respondents in our survey, although census statistics show that Afrikaans is the home language of only 14.4% of the population.

    According to the census, 82% of the Coloured race group speak Afrikaans at home and 58.5% of whites.

    In our sample the following schools are attended by Afrikaans speakers:

  • 42% attend Afrikaans medium government schools in rural areas

  • 40% attend Afrikaans medium government schools in urban areas

  • 16% attend a double-medium school in a West Rand mining town

  • Less than 1% attend exclusive, upmarket private English schools

  • Afrikaans speaking respondents on average own thirteen different clothing or shoe brands each.

    English language group

    In our survey, 16% of the respondents say their home language is English. The last census statistics show that 8.6% of the population speak English as home language – 94.4% of the Indian/Asian race group, 39% whites and 16.4% coloureds are English.

    In our sample the English speakers attend the following schools:

  • 65% attend exclusive, upmarket private English schools

  • 22% attend English-medium government schools in inland urban areas

  • 7% attend Afrikaans medium government school stressing the importance of a Christian-National education in urban areas

  • 6% attend a double-medium school in a West Rand mining town

  • This language group own the most shoe and clothing brands, namely an average of 16 each.

    Brands awareness

  • adidas most recognised
  • Afrikaans groups most aware of surf brands, least aware of fashion brands

  • Indigenous language group least aware of surf brands, most aware of fashion and sport brands

  • Top brands recognised by English and Afrikaans groups similar

  • Not surprisingly, high-profile brands adidas, Nike, Puma, Reebok, Diesel, Levi and Billabong are amongst the twenty most recognised by all language groups.

    It is interesting that all language groups indicate a high level of awareness of brands like BadBoy/Girl and Hang Ten – but that well-known surf brands like Quiksilver, Lizzard, Island Style, Instinct and Roxy are not amongst the twenty brands most recognised by the indigenous language group. Especially since Quiksilver has very high recognition amongst English and Afrikaans speakers (95% and 96%).

    adidas is the brand most recognised by all the language groups, followed by Billabong, Quiksilver and Nike in the English and Afrikaans speaking groups and Nike, Puma and Soviet in the indigenous language group. It is interesting that the English and Afrikaans groups are equally aware of the first four most recognized brands – while the top four brands recognised by the indigenous language group is significantly different.

    The Mr Price brand Red has a fairly high recognition level amongst the Afrikaans and indigenous language groups, but not amongst English speakers.

    The Afrikaans speaking group is very much aware of surfing and skating brands, with eleven surf and skate brands amongst the twenty that they recognise most. Five sports brands (adidas, Nike, Reebok, Puma and Hi-Tec) and only three fashion brands (Diesel, Levi and Jeep) are amongst the twenty brands most recognised by the Afrikaans speakers.

    The indigenous language group is just about a mirror image of the Afrikaans speakers: ten fashion brands score high on awareness, but only three surf/skate brands (Billabong, Hang Ten and BadBoy/Girl) and six sport brands (adidas, Nike, Puma, Reebok, Hi-Tec and Fila) feature under the twenty brands most recognised by this group. Brands like Fila, Dickies, Converse, Jockey, Lee and Sissy Boy enjoy higher recognition amongst respondents from this group than the English or Afrikaans speakers.

    The English speakers are just about equally aware of skate/surf and fashion brands.

    Brands they own

  • Indigenous language speakers own most fashion and "store-specific brands

  • Afrikaans speakers own more surf brands

  • Afrikaans and English speakers own most of the twenty brands most recognized by them

  • Mr Price brand Red is one of brands most owned by all language groups

  • The following are amongst the twenty brands most owned by all three language groups: adidas, Nike and Reebok (sport), Billabong, Hang Ten and BadBoy/Girl (surf) and Diesel and Levi (fashion).

    With two exceptions each, the brands most recognised by the English and Afrikaans speaking groups are also the twenty top brands owned by these language groups. More Afrikaans respondents recognise Puma and Jeep than own the brand, whereas more English speakers recognise Lacoste and O’Neill than actually own the brand. There are, however, notable differences between the brands recognised and owned by the indigenous language group. The following "store" brands are amongst the top twenty brands owned by the indigenous language group that do not feature under the top twenty brands they recognise: River Trader (Mr Price), Inwear (Truworths) and Kelso and Free2BU (Edgars).

    Upmarket fashion brand Calvin Klein is also amongst the top twenty brands owned by this language group, but does not feature under the top twenty recognized.

    The indigenous language group count the highest number of fashion brands under the twenty brands most owned by them (Jockey, Levi, Diesel, Soviet, Dickies, Guess, Calvin Klein and Converse). They also have the least surf brands in the top twenty owned (Hang Ten, Billabong and BadBoy/Girl, in that order).

    The brand most owned by the indigenous language group is the Mr Price brand Red – which is the fourth most commonly owned by the Afrikaans group. Red is also amongst the twenty brands most owned by the English speakers.

    Billabong is the brand owned by most English and Afrikaans speakers, followed by adidas and Nike, in both language groups.

    The top twenty list of brands owned by Afrikaans speakers is dominated by eleven surf/skate brands (Billabong at #1, followed by Hang Ten, Quiksilver, Island Style, BadBoy/Girl, Lizzard, Instinct, Roxy, Volcom, Lost and O’Neill) with only four sport (adidas, Nike, Reebok and Hi-Tec) and fashion brands (Diesel, Levi, Jockey and Sissy Boy).

    English speakers also own a lot of surf brands (Billabong at #1, Quiksilver #4, Island Style, Lizzard, BadBoy/Girl, Hang Ten, Lost, Instinct and Volcom under the top twenty) but show more of a preference for fashion brands (Diesel, Levi, Calvin Klein, Soviet, Guess, Oakley) than the Afrikaans speakers. The top twenty sport brands owned by the English speakers are similar to the Afrikaans speakers, with the exception of Puma (owned by 46% English speakers) and Hi-Tec (owned by 24% Afrikaans speakers).

    Favourite brands

  • Indigenous language group prefers sport brands with lifestyle ranges

  • Afrikaans group favour surfing brands

  • English group favour upmarket fashion brands

  • When asked which six brands are their favourites, respondents in all the language groups voted the following brands into the top 20 positions, albeit with different levels of enthusiasm: Billabong, adidas, Puma, Nike, Diesel, Levi, Quiksilver, Roxy, BadBoy/Girl, Guess and Soviet.

    The indigenous language group shows a clear-cut preference for sports brands that have a strong fashion/lifestyle influence – namely Puma, adidas and Nike. This group also counts Reebok among their top ten favourite brands and is the only language group to have in-house brands like Red and River Trader amongst their top twenty favourites.

    The favourite brand of the Afrikaans language group is Billabong, followed by adidas and Nike … with surf brands like Quiksilver, Volcom, Roxy, Lizzard, Island Style, BadBoy/Girl and Lost featuring strongly amongst the top twenty brands nominated. A lifestyle/sports brand like Puma and fashion brands - with the exception of Diesel and Levi - feature much lower on their list of top brands.

    The English speaking group has a more eclectic taste: fashion brand Diesel is their favourite, followed by sports brands Nike and Puma and then surfing brand Billabong. Upmarket fashion brands like Lacoste, Levi, Soviet, Guess, Oakley, Polo, Calvin Klein and Gucci feature high on the wish list of this group.

    #1 Favourite brand

  • Adidas top favourite or runner up

  • Lacoste favourite of English

  • Dolce & Gabana, Gucci and Sissy Boy have a loyal following

  • It is interesting to note the changes when only the brand they ranked #1 is taken into account – which indicates that these brands have a very dedicated group of followers, while other respondents are not as keen on them.

    Lacoste, for instance, is the brand that most English speaking respondents placed first, and it is also amongst the top twenty brands that the Afrikaans and indigenous language groups ranked as their absolute favourite. But, when all six favourite brands are ranked, Lacoste moves down to the 6th position in the English group and disappears from the top twenty favourites of the Afrikaans group.

    Dolce & Gabana, Gucci and Sissy Boy were also ranked as the top favourite by discerning respondents in all language groups, but when the respondents name their six favourite brands, other brands are more popular than they are.

    The Afrikaans language group is consistent in the top two brands they ranked as #1 and nominated as one of their top six favourites (Billabong and adidas), but Nike slips from #3 position as one of the six favourites, to #8 as a top favourite.

    Puma, adidas and Nike are clearly the favourite brands of the indigenous language group.

    Why they like & buy brands

  • Indigenous language trust brand name and want to feel cool, look good

  • Afrikaans and English like the cut, colour, style and comfort of a specific item

  • Pop, movie and sport stars have very little influence on brand choices

  • Opinion of friends and Made in South Africa play a minor role

  • Interesting differences emerge when the respondents are classified according to their home languages.

    For instance, most speakers of indigenous languages (40%) say they predominantly buy shoes or clothes because they trust the brand name, rather than because they see something they like while browsing (27%). On the other hand, more than half the English and Afrikaans speaking respondents decide to buy something they see while browsing, but only 39% English speakers and 40% Afrikaans speaking respondents buy an item because they trust the brand name.

    These differences are also evident in their responses to what they like about their favourite brand: most respondents (36%) in the Indigenous language group say that wearing the brand "makes them feel good/look cool" – in other words they trust the specific brand name. A third of this group prefer a brand because they like the style/cut or colour of shoes or clothing and only a quarter because the brand is comfortable to wear.

    The reasons given by the Afrikaans and English speaking groups for preferring a brand is more in line with typical "browsing" behaviour: being attracted by the style, cut or colour of an item in a store (73% English and 57% Afrikaans) and then trying it on and finding it comfortable.

    The fact that a brand might make them feel good or look cool plays a significantly smaller role for the English and Afrikaans language groups than the indigenous language group.

    "Seeing it in an advert" is the third most significant factor that determines if all three groups will buy shoes or clothes, but less than a fifth of all three language groups say they will go and buy an item because they saw it in an advert.

    A singer, movie star or sport stars wearing a clothing or shoe brand will not really influence the respondents to buy it, although the indigenous language group (15%) is slightly more likely to buy shoes or clothing worn by stars than the 2% English or 6% Afrikaans speaking respondents. Nor do they favour a brand just because a favourite singer, movie star or sport star wears it – only 7% of the indigenous language and 4% English and Afrikaans speaking respondents choose a brand as their favourite because it is worn by their favourite stars.

    The influence of friends also do not play a major role in convincing the respondents to buy – nor the fact that a garment or shoe is Made in South Africa. Only 9% indigenous, 5% English and 2% Afrikaans speakers will buy a product because it was manufactured locally.

    Afrikaans respondents (20%) take into higher regard whether the brand is good value for money than the English (12%) or indigenous language group (11%).

    Parents are the primary buyers of clothes and shoes in all three language groups, but in the indigenous language group aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters are secondary contributors (15%), while 40% of the English and 29% of the Afrikaans speaking respondents spend their pocket money on clothes and shoes.

    Where they shop

  • Afrikaans and English speakers predominantly shop at mall stores

  • Indigenous language speakers shop at sport, department & mall stores

  • Hardly any group admits to shopping at flea markets

  • There is a significant difference in the shopping habits of the English and Afrikaans groups on the one hand who show a significant preference for buying their clothes and shoes at any mall store (again, browsing behaviour!), and the indigenous language group who show about equal preference for shopping at sport, department and any mall stores.

    The indigenous language and Afrikaans groups are more likely to shop at discount chains than the English speakers. But it is interesting to note that while only 15% of the indigenous language speakers say they shop at discount chains, 48% of them own the brand Red, only available from Mr Price stores, which we listed as an example of a discount chain.

    Retailers will be happy to learn that hardly anybody in any of the language groups admit to shopping at flea markets.

    Part 3

    Different backgrounds, different shopping habits

    More than 1 000 teens aged 15-17 years from diverse backgrounds and from across SA responded to our survey
  • 16% of the respondents attend coastal schools

  • 84% of the respondents attend inland schools

  • 13% of the respondents attend private schools

  • 79% of the respondents attend Model C schools

  • 8% of the respondents attend township schools

  • 60% of the respondents attend urban schools

  • 32% of the respondents attend rural schools

  • Worldwide, there is a vast difference between the shopping habits and brand preferences of people from leafy suburbs and those from remote rural hamlets. The SA population is probably even more divided than most other countries in the world.

    The difficult question was: how to make demographic distinctions. We decided to look at the type of school attended by our learners: private schools, former Model C and township. This is not an indication of race - many indigenous language speakers attend private and former Model C schools - or necessarily status, as we did not ask anyone’s bank balance. It is merely an indication of the likes and dislikes of respondents from a certain kind of environment, where learners tend to influence each other.

    Where and why do they buy

  • The majority (79%) respondents attend former Model C schools

  • 13% of respondents come from private schools and 8% attend township schools

  • Private and Model C respondents are mall store browsers who buy shoes and clothing because they like the cut and style

  • Township respondents buy trusted brand names from department stores because it makes them feel good

  • Sport, music and movie star endorsements are not big influences

  • Made in SA is not a priority for any group

  • Availability in stores and trust in the brand name are the main reasons why our respondents buy shoes or clothing.

    But, respondents from private (58%) and former Model C schools (49%) are more likely to buy an item that they see while browsing in a mall store, than respondents from township schools (15%). For the latter group, a trusted brand name is the most important factor when they buy shoes and clothes (say 43%). Brand trust is also important for respondents from Model C (40%) and private (38%) schools.

    Township respondents, however, tend to do far less mall crawling than their counterparts from private and former Model C schools. Apart from the fact that "seeing while browsing" is not one of the main reasons why they will buy an item of footwear or clothing, "any store in a mall" is fifth on their list of places where they would go and shop. Most respondents from township schools say they shop in department stores (41%), followed by sport stores (26%), fashion chains (20%) and discount chains (21%). This response, however, conflicts with the fact that Red and River Trader (Mr Price) are the brands owned by most township respondents.

    The respondents from Model C and private schools buy a brand because they like the style and cut (56% and 70%) that they see while browsing (49% and 58%) in mall stores (46% and 53%). Most respondents from township schools (41%) on the other hand, buy a brand because it "makes them feel good". The fact that a brand is expensive and everyone will therefore be able to see you can afford it, is also more important for township respondents (16%) than from Model C (3%) and private schools (2%).

    Like the township respondents (26%), a sport store is the second favourite shopping destination of former Model C respondents (29%) as well as those from private schools (21%) … which would explain why so many respondents buy sporting brands, when compared to the other more than 160 brands owned by them. Hardly any of the respondents admit to shopping at flea markets.

    Apart from the cut and style and the feel good" factor, "comfortable to wear" is an important consideration for all respondents when buying shoes and clothing (28% township, 31% Model C and 38% private school).

    The fact that a movie, music or sport star wears a brand have hardly any influence on whether they like a brand (4% township, 5% Model C and 3% private) or why they would buy a specific item of clothing or shoes (12% township, 7% Model C and 2% private school).

    The fact that an item is made in South Africa also does not make much difference to the respondents as only 12% (township), 3% (Model C) and 4% (private) would buy shoes and clothes because they are made in SA. It is, however, interesting that these factors (star status and made in SA) are more important for township respondents.

    Brands owned

  • Model C-respondents own more surf brands

  • Private school respondents own more high end fashion brands

  • Township respondents own more store-specific brands

  • The respondents from township schools are far more likely to buy house brands from stores like Mr Price, Ackermans, and to a lesser extent, Edgars, Truworths and Foschini, than learners from former Model C or private schools. In fact, the three brands owned by most respondents from township schools are all more affordable store-specific brands, namely Red (owned by 44%), Hang Ten (35%) and River Trader (32%). These brands are followed by adidas and Jockey (both 31%), Billabong (25%), Edgars’ brand Kelso (20%), Dickies and Nike (both 19%), Levi (16%) and the Truworths brand Inwear and Soviet (both 14%).

    Apart from stalwarts adidas, Billabong and Nike, the ten brands bought by most respondents from township schools are mostly store-specific, interspersed with a smattering of fashion brands like Jockey, Dickies, Levi and Soviet. More of them, for instance, own South African brand Loxion Kulca (12%) than Puma (11%).

    The Model C-school respondents like surf brands – Billabong is owned by the second highest number (67%), but BadBoy/Girl (46%), Quiksilver (45%), Island Style (44%) and Lizzard (39%) are also amongst the ten brands owned by most of them. Most of them own adidas (68%), but sporting brands Nike (57%) and Reebok (37%) are also among the ten brands owned by most former Model C-respondents. More of them own Hi-Tec (22%) than Puma (20%). Like the township learners, they like to shop at Mr Price (54% own Red) and Ackermans (48% own Hang Ten).

    The respondents from private schools, however, have a propensity for more pricey fashion brands like Diesel (57%), Levi (54%), Guess (36%), Calvin Klein and Soviet (35%). They also buy more Puma (44%) than respondents from other schools. Like in former Model C-schools, adidas, Billabong and Nike are the three brands owned by most private school respondents, but Quiksilver (65%) is the brand owned by the next highest number of respondents from private schools.

    Aspirational brands

  • Private school respondents aspire to own Lacoste

  • Former Model C-respondents aspire to own Billabong

  • Township respondents aspire to own adidas

  • If money was no option, what brand would they love to own most of all? The responses from learners from the three kinds of schools differ considerably.

    Most private school learners dream of owning Lacoste – followed by adidas, Puma and Nike (in that order). Diesel, Polo, Billabong, Quiksilver, Volcom and Levi are also on this group’s list of top five aspirational brands.

    The former Model C-learners dream of owning Billabong, then adidas and Roxy. They also aspire to own sporting brands Puma and Nike and surf/skate brands like Quiksilver, BadBoy/Girl and Volcom.

    Adidas and Nike, followed by Billabong, are the brands that most township respondents aspire to. Other brands that are their #1 favourite are BadBoy/Girl, Puma and Reebok and fashion labels Lacoste, Guess, Converse and Sissy Boy.

    Inland & rural teens like surf brands, city slickers prefer fashion brands

    Profile of respondents from schools in urban areas:

  • 10% attend government coastal schools located in middle income areas;

  • 16% attend private or government coastal schools located in upper income areas;

  • 47% attend government inland schools located in middle income areas;

  • 27% attend private or government inland schools located in upper income areas

  • Profile of respondents from schools in rural areas:

  • 90% attend private schools

  • 10% attend government schools

  • Profile of respondents from schools in township areas:

  • 9% attend coastal schools

  • 91% attend inland schools

  • In the old SA, a Vaalie, Ky’Daar or Capey would instantly take offence if anyone would dare to suggest that they have similar tastes or shopping habits.

    We therefore wanted to know if in the new SA, people from different geographical areas still think differently — and therefore took a look at which brands inland and coastal, as well as urban and rural respondents are most likely to buy.

    In these breakdowns, there will obviously be many diverse sub-groups, but because of space constraints, we concentrated on inland and coastal, urban and rural groups.

    Inland vs Coastal

  • Majority (83%) of the respondents live inland

  • Inland respondents own more surf/skate brands

  • Coastal respondents own more fashion brands

  • Most coastal respondents own Billabong; most inland respondents own adidas

  • Contrary to what one would expect, respondents who live away from the coast buy more surf brands than those who live close to the sea. The landlubbers are especially partial to Billabong, Hang Ten, BadBoy/Girl, Quiksilver, Island Style, Lizzard, Instinct, Roxy, Volcom, O’Neill and Lost (in that order).

    The surf brand Billabong is bought by the highest number of coastal respondents (79%) and Quiksilver by the fourth highest number (60%), but overall the coastal dwellers buy more brands with a fashion look, like Levi, Diesel, Guess, Calvin Klein, Soviet, Oakley and Jockey.

    As one would expect, sporting lifestyle brands like adidas (74%), Nike (69%), Puma (44%) and Reebok (43%) feature high in the list of the top twenty brands owned by coastal respondents … but the inland respondents prefer Hi-Tec (21%) to Puma (18%).

    The inland respondents often shop at Mr Price, as more of them own their Red brand (54%), than Nike (53%).

    Red (Mr Price), Hang Ten (Ackermans) and Instinct (Foschini) are the only store-specific brands amongst the top 20 brands owned by most respondents in all areas – although inland respondents are more likely to buy these brands than those from the coast. Interestingly, an equal number (43%) of coastal respondents own Red, Island Style and Reebok.

    Urban vs Rural

  • 58% of respondents are from rural and 42% from urban areas

  • Adidas and Billabong owned by the most respondents from both groups

  • Rural respondents own more surf brands

  • Urban respondents own more fashion brands

  • The respondents from urban areas buy more high-end fashion brands like Diesel, Levi, Guess, Calvin Klein and Soviet than the rural respondents, who own more surf/skate brands. The four brands owned by most urban respondents — adidas, Billabong, Nike and Quiksilver — do have a sporting and surfing heritage, but they are equally well known as fashion/lifestyle brands. Billabong, for instance, is owned by 665 respondents, half of them from rural areas, who are not all likely to own surf boards.

    Adidas, owned by 668 respondents, is the brand bought by most respondents from urban as well as rural areas.

    The urban respondents are keener on sporting lifestyle brands like Nike (3rd most owned), Reebok (7th most owned) and Puma (15th most owned) than the rural respondents who, for instance, own more affordable store-specific brands Red (Mr Price) and Hang Ten (Ackermans) than Nike.

    While Puma does not feature in the top twenty brands owned by the rural respondents, Hi-Tec (#16) and store-specific brand River Trader (#20) are amongst the twenty brands owned by most rural respondents.

    The rural respondents own more surf/skate brands like BadBoy/Girl, Island Style, Lizzard, Quiksilver, Roxy, O’Neill, Lost and Volcom.

    Brands with a surfing heritage, but only available from certain stores, like Hang Ten and Instinct, are also under the ten brands owned by most rural respondents.

    The respondents in the rural areas also own a higher number of store-specific brands — e.g. Red (59%), Hang Ten (50%), Instinct (35%) and River Trader 18% — than their counterparts from urban areas, of whom 43% own Red, 39% own Hang Ten and 32% Instinct.

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