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Teenagers Now Prefer Chick-Fil-A To Starbucks, According To New Survey

A new survey of teenage consumers has delivered good news for Chick-fil-A and bad news for Seattle-based coffee giant Starbucks.

The Taking Stock With Teens survey by Piper Jaffrey recently released its biannual survey of teen preferences-- a coveted American demographic, and it indicates that the Atlanta-based chicken-sandwich chain has become the number one fast-food destination for youths of both upper and average income groups for the first time ever, according to Restaurant Business Magazine.

The teenage population has made it clear that they prefer chicken over coffee when it comes to spending their money, and this is just the latest in a long string of strong consumer survey results for Chick-fil-A, which has been one of the fastest-growing restaurant chains in the U.S., with 14.2% total sales growth last year, according to Technomic data.

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Piper Jaffray, the investment bank and asset management firm, surveyed 8,600 teenagers on topics such as their favorite restaurant, favorite footwear brands, and their favorite shopping websites. Researchers concluded that 24% of their spending was going to food, surpassing clothing and other lifestyle expenses, such as concert tickets, selfie sticks, and even drugs.

“Young people increasingly prefer ‘experiences’ over things” data scientist Miller Reagan explained in reference to the survey. “That gets amplified as consumers age.”

Those in a family with average income ranked McDonald's number 3, with a tie at number 4 between Chipotle, Taco Bell, and Olive Garden. According to researchers, Starbucks’ decline in status might have something to do with an aversion to dairy or even caffeine among teenagers, but the exact causes of the coffee giant's fall from favor are yet to be determined.

The survey also indicates that brands continue to be important for teen buyers, with 45 percent of respondents saying the brand is the most important factor when making a purchase, up from 33 percent six years ago. Nike came in tops as both the favorite footwear and clothing brand, while Amazon topped the list of shopping websites. Snapchat dominated the list of social media platforms, followed by Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. The average age of the teens surveyed was 15.9.

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