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The 12 Clothing Brands Gen Z & Millennials Wish They Could Buy More Of

The list of clothing brands that young consumers want to buy more of shows that they aren’t a group lusting after luxury items…

Yesterday, we told you some truths about the way young consumers shop—now we’re looking more closely at what want to shop for. Clothing retailers continue to chase Millennials and Gen Z, and make major changes to earn their dollars. Walmart recently announced that they’ll be introducing a “rival Everlane” to target Gen Z. Abercrombie and Hollister are adding Venmo payment capabilities in hopes that it will make it easier for young consumers to click “buy” from them. Those are just a few of the many attempts by manjor brands to keep up with young consumers and get them to keep shopping, as they continued to be distracted by new upstarts and indie brands. As we’ve explored in our research before, young consumers are only loyal-ish, and getting them to keep buying one brand over time is harder than ever before. In fact, 72% of 13-34-year-olds say they’re always looking for new products to try. The clothing industry especially has trouble getting them to stick around: only 15% of 13-17-year-olds and 13% of 13-34-year-olds told us that they were loyal to a particular clothing/accessories brand. But there are some who are succeeding in their efforts to keep Gen Z and Millennials coming back. (At least for right now.)

In our recent survey on shopping and fashion, we asked 13-36-year-olds, “What clothing brand do you wish you could buy more of?”* Here’s what we found out:

*This was an open-end response question to allow us to capture the full range of clothing brands that Millennials and Gen Z wish they could buy more of—without our preconceived ideas shaping their responses. As with any qualitative question, the responses include those that are top of mind and those that are most popular. The lists are ordered according to number of responses received, and alphabetically when ties occurred.

The Clothing Brands They Wish They Could Buy More Of


      1. Nike
      2. Adidas
      3. Zara
      4. H&M
      5. Under Armour
      6. Levi’s
      7. Ralph Lauren
      8. American Eagle
      9. Anthropologie
      10. J.Crew
      11. Express
      12. Tommy Hilfiger

It tops the list of their the 15 coolest clothing brands, according to young consumers, and it’s at the top of the list again: Nike is the top clothing brand they wish they could buy more of. So what is it about Nike that’s keeping young consumers under their spell? Style and quality were the biggest themes we saw. A 29-year-old male explained, “It’s the brand that fits me best,” while a 19-year-old female said, “They have high quality, long lasting products.” Another 18-year-old female told us, “I love Nike’s clothing look and their newest technology is just amazing. Plus, a lot of their designs are unique and have the edginess that I like to wear.” In our research on young consumers’ brand loyalty, we found that performance, and continuous improvement of products are top loyalty drivers for Gen Z and Millennials—and Nike seems to fit their needs.

In fact, Nike ranked as the top brand they would want to buy more of among males, females, 13-17-year-olds, and 18-36-year-olds, but most of their common ground ended there:

Looking at the brands that 13-17-year-olds and 18-36-year-olds wish they could buy more of, there is little overlap. American Eagle, Hollister, Under Armour, and Forever 21 came in after Nike in teens’ top five list, while Adidas, Zara, H&M, and Levi’s were the top brands for the older group.

Interestingly, high-end brands didn’t rank high among either group, nor did they make much of an appearance on the overall list above. Young consumers talk about quality and style when they tell us what brands they want to buy more of, instead of expense or even exclusiveness. Comfort and durability were more likely to be mentioned as reasons behind their desire to buy more of a brand than cost. If you needed another reminder that these are the generations redefining luxury, here it is.

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