In a unique special report soon to available in full (free for Premium subscribers), we took an in-depth look at 13-25-year-old’s shopping patterns in the last 6 months through a series of questions about changes in preferences when it comes to different types of retail stores. Ranging from frequency of shopping to shopping more, less, or the same, measurements included locations such as shopping thrift/vintage, fast-fashion (H&M, Forever 21), big-box retailers (Target, Wal-Mart), trade-in locations, shopping via cell phones, online retail (E-Bay, direct from sites), shopping clearance sales, and other types of store choices and locations.

In this story, we concentrate on the shifts in shopping patterns that have increased in the last 6 months via gender and age groups. Overall, fast-fashion shopping continues to be a strong market opportunity, but especially for females and younger demographics. As indicated in this chart, when asked about changes in shopping patterns in the last 6 months, 53.6% of males said they are not shopping at all in fast-fashion stores such as H&M or Forever 21, however 35.5% of females said they’re shopping there More. This indicates a dramatic shift in shopping, especially as a market opportunity for females, but also as a potential market option if there were fast-fashion options dedicated to 13-25-year-old males.

Shopping Pattern Changes in the Last 6 Months–Fast-fashion by Age Groups Chart

By age groups, there’s a direct correlation that the younger the demographic, the higher the percentages that are shopping at fast-fashion stores More. What this indicates is a different sort of shopping behavior that’s developing within a new generation of shoppers in general. As more young people move into creating their own styles, spending patterns, and identities, basically those growing through this recession are coming to prefer fast-fashion retailers (or at least the experiences, trendy, timely pieces, and prices) more than older demographics that have lived through a different range of shopping expectations.

Shopping Patterns and Discount Stores (i.e., Target, Wal-Mart) by Gender Chart

Other differences to note is the rise in preferences for shopping at discount stores (i.e., Target, Wal-Mart) among both genders, but higher among females. In this chart, 39.8% of females are shopping in such locations More along with 29.2% of males. This is followed by 38.8% of males shopping in such locations the Same along with 35% of females. Generally, as we’ve seen with the growing acceptance of ads from Target and other big-box discount stores, shopping in such locations is no longer considered all that uncool. Add to that the growth of masstige or designer collaborations for limited-edition collections with such stores, it’s provided more excitement for consumers and attracted new consumers who may not have shopped in such locations to these stores as a new demographic.

While this story points out just 2 of many shifts in preferred shopping patterns in youth culture in the United States, overall what can be said is that the recession has impacted not only how consumers shop today vs. 6 months ago, but the results also shed light on the pro-longed ripple effects the recession will have on a new generation of consumers in the near future.

Stay tuned for Part 2 on shopping pattern decreases, plus where new ways of attracting consumers and retail effectiveness works best based on gender and age groups.