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The 17 Brands Millennials & Gen Z Think Are Most Innovative (Part 1)

We asked 1000 13-34-year-olds which brands—tech and non-tech—they think are the most innovative… 

In our most recent Ypulse Quarterly report, we took a deep dive into Millennials’ and Gen Z’s brand loyalty—including how innovation plays into their view of brands and purchasing behavior. We found that young consumers today are Loyal-ish. While they say they’re loyal to some brands, they’re always willing to try new products, and are willing to switch if someone comes along who makes something better. Those two words, “new” and “better” are also key parts of their views on innovation. When we asked young consumers what makes a product innovative, the top two answers were: it improves on what came before it (27%), and it addresses problems other products don’t (21%).

But to find out what specific brands they really think are innovating the most today, we asked 1000 13-34-year-olds, “Think of a brand you think is particularly innovative. What is the brand?”* The majority of the 17 brands that received the most mentions were, not too surprisingly, technology companies. After all, 86% of 13-34-year-olds think that brands that experiment with new technologies are innovative/extremely innovative. Stay-tuned for tomorrow, when we look at the non-tech brands they think are most innovative—but today, here are brands young consumers think are most innovative overall: 

*These were open-end response questions to allow us to capture the full range of the brands 13-34-year-olds think are most innovative. As with any qualitative question, the responses include those that are top of mind and those that are most highly thought of. The lists are ordered according to number of responses received, and alphabetically when ties occurred. 

What Brands Do They Think Are Most Innovative?


  1. Apple

  2. Samsung

  3. Google

  4. Nike

  5. Tesla

  6. Microsoft

  7. HP

  8. Nintendo

  9. Sony

  10. Amazon

  11. Dell

  12. LG

  13. Android

  14. IBM

  15. Adidas

  16. Motorola

  17. Intel  

Almost half of young consumers surveyed named Apple as the brand they think is particularly innovative—and their reasons why again reflected the idea that for Millennials and teens, innovation=improvement. One 30-year-old female explained, ”[Apple is] always trying to improve on what they’ve done before. Though they are constantly coming out with new products, they still try to improve their old ones,” and a 24-year-old male said of the brand, “They have always strived to enhance their products with something new and never done before.” 

Interestingly, Apple competitor Samsung, came in second place (though we should note with significantly fewer mentions). Brandchannel recently reported that the brand is aiming to continually “[raise] the bar for technology innovation,” focusing on virtual reality technology, with plans to “to incorporate gesture and motion tracking enabling users to interact in virtual environments without having to use a controller.” It’s also worth noting that those brands on the list that were not originally tech brands, Nike, Amazon, Tesla, Adidas, have made technology and tech improvements a significant part of their products.

The top brands viewed as innovative by almost all groups: 

Comparing gender and ages, we see that variance between rankings is minimal, with Microsoft appearing on the top five for teens, and Tesla appearing on the top five for Millennials, but all other brands remaining the same—indicating that the innovation reputations of these companies is solid. 

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.