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Teen shoppers are not as ‘fickle’ as you think

It may be an internet world where memes are here today, gone tomorrow, but teen shoppers are actually loyal to products and brands, Crocs CEO Andrew Rees told CNBC on Wednesday.

“When they’re buying something that provides a lot of value, they stick with it,” Rees said on “Power Lunch.”

Teens, apparently, are not just sticking with Crocs — but more and more are choosing to wear them.

Crocs ranked as the seventh most popular footwear brand among teens this fall, its highest ranking ever, according to Piper Jaffray’s autumn survey. Last fall Crocs ranked 13th, which was up from 38th in spring 2017.

“They influence parents, they influence siblings. They use social media,” Rees said. “They’re an incredibly important consumer because they influence people and they bring more people to the brand.”

When teens abandon a brand or product, it’s probably for a good reason, Rees said.

“They’re fickle when you give them something they don’t really need,” Rees said, such as the fidget spinner craze of 2017. “They didn’t really need that because it doesn’t provide any value.”

Rees has provided value to shareholders.

Shares of Crocs are up well over 400% since Rees became the company’s CEO in June 2017, after about three years as president. The stock was below $6 in May of that year.

Crocs rose nearly 5% on Wednesday to $35.89. The shares notched a 52-week high of $39.13 on Oct. 30.

The Niwot, Colorado-based company, founded in 2002, has sold more than 600 million shoes globally, according to its website.

Its flagship clog shoe has grown iconic, though its appearance has continued to be maligned. Time magazine once called the shoe one of the world’s worst inventions.

Being called ugly hasn’t been an impediment to Crocs’ resurgence in recent years, which has been fueled by their popularity among younger consumers.

“We went back to what we’re good at,” Rees said, adding that the clog shoe makes up around 60% of Crocs’ sales.

“That’s grown and that’s what the teens are wearing,” he said.

To engineer its comeback, Rees said Crocs placed an emphasis on allowing consumers to personalize their shoes, plus collaborations with well-known brands and celebrities, such as Vera Bradley and musician Post Malone.

But Crocs also is seeing growth among its more traditional, and less trendy, versions of its shoes such as its “Crocs At Work” line. He attributes that to younger consumers.

“They’re influencing other people and giving them permission to see the brand as more relevant to them, too,” Rees said.

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