WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Teens these days are forking over the cash for food instead of clothes.
Tacos over tees, pizza over pants, and drinks over dresses. For the first time in more than 13 years, teens choose food over fashion. That's according to a study released earlier this month by Piper Jaffary.
"I know I definitely buy a lot more food than I do clothes,” teen Maggie Wessinger said.
And restaurants are the new mall, the study says.
In 2007 teens visited the mall an average of 38 times per year. In 2014 it was just 29 times per year.
Jacob Ouellette say this is because clothes are more expensive now than they were in the past.
"It's not really that fun just to go walk around the mall when you can't really buy anything,” Ouellette said.
He says the bad economy, plus fewer jobs means teens are spending less and saving more.
"It's hard to find a job right now for a lot of kids our age around here,” Ouellette said. “I have a job at Food Lion but I know a lot of my friends don't have a job anywhere. You can't really go spend a lot of money on clothes and things like that when you don't have any money."
Other teens say when it comes down to it; they need food more than they need new clothes.
"I've gotten a little bit more broke coming to college, so I have less money on me all the time,” Alex Brownlee said. “So, it's just easier to spend it at like Cook-Out for $5 when I'm hungry versus buying a shirt for $30 or something."
Free Wi-Fi is another reason Brownlee says teens are flocking to restaurants rather than the mall.
“Everybody is trying to be on the internet, so it really is convenient to have your laptop in Starbucks and hang out with like four people and drink coffee,” Brownlee explained.
Check out the entire study here.