Young consumers love an indulgent treat. We asked what their favorite candy brands to splurge on are right now, and found Gen Z and Millennials’ answer is unanimous…
The biggest candy holidays of the year are coming up (and if you need to get ready for Halloween, you can check out what Gen Z and Millennials have planned here)—but young consumers don’t necessarily need the holidays as an excuse to splurge on chocolate. “Treat yo’self” has become a motto among Gen Z and Millennials who are using the extra encouragement for everyday splurges. Indulgences are being encouraged as they increasingly spread the message that little luxuries are good for their mental health. In our research on the trend, we found over nine in ten young consumers tell us that they like to treat themselves every once in a while, and the majority say that indulgences are part of a healthy lifestyle.
When we looked at some of Gen Z and Millennials’ favorite food brands (according to our Ybrands youth brand tracker), we also found these generations consider indulgences among their favorites. Oreo tops the list among all three age groups, and Doritos lands in the top three for all groups as well.
And what about candy? We’ve looked into that, too. In our recent survey on Halloween plans and spending, we asked 1000 13-36-year-olds, “What is your favorite candy?”—and many respondents had trouble naming just one. As one 31-year-old female told us, “I love all candy. Currently eating candy corn and Almond Joy for breakfast.” But we ranked their responses and one candy brand rose to the top among all age groups:
*This was an open-end response question to allow us to capture the full range of candy brands that Millennials and Gen Z say are their favorites—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.
For the second year in a row, Reese’s was the top-named candy among 13-36-year-olds by a landslide—and also ranked as the top favorite candy brand among each age group. While some just told us “Reese’s” is their favorite, some respondents specified peanut butter cups, and others mentioned Reese’s Pieces. Regardless, the brand is in a great position with young consumers. Their consistently simplistic but clever marketing could help—but it’s also possible that other brands just can’t compete with the combination of peanut butter and chocolate.
But some candies were more popular among some groups than others. Teens were more likely to name Jolly Ranchers than older respondents, and 18-24-year-olds were more likely than other groups to name Butterfingers. Meanwhile, Milky Way must appeal to a more mature palate, as it’s most popular among 25-36-year-olds.
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