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Teenagers want to stand out but don`t want to be different
APRIL 10, 2014 03:20  
Four to five years ago, North Face`s padding jumpers and wind shield jackets had gained enormous popularity. They were priced 300,000 won (288 U.S. dollars) to 400,000 won (385 dollars) but that didn`t matter. Not now, teens wearing the brand`s jackets can rarely be seen. A 10 grade girl student in Incheon said, "I bought it by paying a large amount of money. But since so many people were wearing it, it has lost scarcity value." She added, "My friends wear padding jackets but of different brands. They look almost the same, however."

Amid the rise and fall of popularity of North Face`s padding jackets, teenagers wearing padding jumpers of different brands reflect consumer sentiment. These days, young people are double-sided in that they want to stand out but at the same time don`t want to be separated.

According to Korea Research`s survey conducted three times on consumer sentiment by age in 2013, the highest response in the age group of 13-18 was that they want to be different from others. With average set at 100, the response index by teenagers stood at 143, higher than other age groups. In addition, the index was a positive 41 on the question that "do you buy the same brands as your friends."

Yoon Deok-hwan, director of content business at research firm Macromill Embran and a consumer trend expert, said, "Teenagers have high tendency of being aware of the way other people are looking at them." Junior high and high school students believe people are looking at them, and care more about their outward appearance. If a friend wears an expensive brand, they want to do the same. They also buy high-end brands ahead of their friends to make themselves stand out.

Some teenagers don`t care about famous brands. Most of them, however, want to differentiate themselves by wearing clothes that are unique. A high school student in Seoul said, "We can appear to be out of taste if we wear uncertain brands. That`s why we wear no-brand clothes."

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