Tracking Teen Shopping Habits

Teen Shopping ProjectSixty-one teenagers from across the Washington region descended upon Tysons Corner on a recent Saturday. And we were there to capture it all.

We wanted to learn how today's teens make their purchasing decisions, how they calculate value and how they figure out what's cool. These teenage volunteers, all between seventh and 11th grade, brought their own money, friends and sense of style. Some came with their parents; some with their parents' credit card. But all of them brought strong opinions about what they like — and what they don't.

More than a dozen Washington Post and staff members documented the shopping expedition through stories, photographs, audio and video. We gained insight into teen consumer psychology and the latest trends, but we also learned a lot about the teenagers themselves.



As the Kids Go Buy

Story HeadlineThey agonize over price. They're thoughtful, not impulsive. They arrive at the mall with information and purpose. They actually care about what their parents would think about those micro shorts. They are teenage girls, and this is how they shop. Read full story


Chat with staff writer Ylan Q. Mui, analyst Marshal Cohen and Bloomingdale's Donna Hamaker

Mall MapWashington Post staff writer Ylan Q. Mui discussed teen shopping behavior on Monday, June 4 at Noon ET. She was joined by retail expert Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst from the NPD Group, and Donna Hamaker, a spokesperson for Bloomingdale's at Tysons Corner Center and White Flint Mall. Read the transcript

Interactive Mall Map

Mall MapClick on stores at Tysons Corner Center for detailed information about where the teens shopped. View photos of the teens browsing, hear them discuss the latest fashions and watch video highlights. View map

Photos: Browsing, shopping, hanging out

Mall MapCheck out three galleries from Washington Post photographers of area teens spending an afternoon at Tysons Corner Center in McLean, browsing, shopping and discussing the latest fashions. See galleries

Video: Highlights from Tysons shopping

Mall MapTeens today are savvy and price-conscious shoppers, and a coveted group among retailers eager to lure in their dollars. We gathered about 60 teens on a recent Saturday morning at Tysons Corner Center to track their shopping habits — and see what works for them, what doesn't and why. Watch video

Teen Shopper Profiles
Detailed Looks at Seven Teens' Habits

Mall MapSeven of these teens gave us detailed accounts of their shopping habits, including where they bought everything in their bedrooms to tracking their paths through the mall. They also recorded what they said about products and stores during the project. Learn more


Contributors to this project included: Lori Aratani, Lisa Bonos, Denny Brack, Andrea Bruce, Andrea Caumont, Sara Goo, Kim Hart, Marvin Joseph, Kathy Lally, Norm Lewis, Melina Mara, Ylan Mui, David Murray, Giuliana Santoro, Laura Stanton, Sandy Sugawara, Nancy Szokan, Sabrina Valle, Karen Yourish (Washington Post); Levi Chronister, Emmy Crawford, Rob Curley, Alicia Cypress, Katie DePaola, Amanda Finnegan, Jesse Foltz, Adam Hemphill, Deryck Hodge, Garrett Hubbard, Adam Kipple, Cara McCoy, Lindsay McCullough, Chris McMichael, Kevin Myrick, Tim Richardson, Bill Snead, Matt Sollars, Sean Stoops, Jinae West (

© 2007 The Washington Post Company