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These are 10 of Gen Z and Millennials’ Top Brands Leaving 2020

YPulse’s brand tracker data shows how industries fared over a tumultuous year, and which are ending 2020 on top…


2020 was a rollercoaster for both consumers and brands—full of changes in behavior that no one could have predicted. Those behavioral changes, and the trends caused by COVID, created booms for some brands and intense challenges for others. Some brands were simultaneously hit with massive success in certain areas while other parts of their business struggled. From ecommerce and content streaming acceleration to new product category demands that led to massive sell-outs, buying and spending habits among young consumers were altered in drastic ways.

So how did all of these changes to product purchasing and use impact young consumers’ feelings about the brands they buy? YPulse’s upcoming report How 2020 Impacted Brand Affinity explores our brand tracking data in-depth to uncover how the events of this year have changed young consumers’ view of industries and the brands within them. (YPulse Pro and Prime subscribers will have full access to this report on 12/31. Click here to learn more about accessing this content.)

This report examines trends in brand affinity across 2020 via industry and individual brands’ Yscore+ fluctuations. Yscore+ provides a snapshot of how brand affinity among young consumers, based on an average of responses to 20 youth-centric diagnostics. These carefully tested metrics indicate a deeper relationship with brands, including which ones they think are cool, reflect who they are, are talked about, and more. We found that as with so many things in 2020, the impact of the massive changes in brand use on actual brand affinity scores was not straightforward. Industry performance was not always what might be expected.

But we also found that the 10 brands that ended 2020 with the top Yscore+ across all industries did show some of the shifting priorities, and major behavioral changes among Gen Z and Millennials, Here are the highest ranking brands at the end of this unpredictable year:

The Brands Ending 2020 With the Top Yscore+

Among 13-39-year-olds:

  1. YouTube 
  2. Netflix 
  3. PayPal
  4. Google
  5. Apple
  6. Nike
  7. Amazon
  8. Quizlet
  9. Tesla 
  10. Victoria’s Secret 

Regardless of industry, the brands that ended 2020 on top were more likely to maintain their existing high standing throughout the year than to gain major ground. YouTube and Netflix started the year strong compared to other brands, and 2020 was a good year to be an at-home entertainment brand. Young consumers flocked to streaming to stave off boredom, escape stress, and more. YouTube became not only a haven of positive content, but a resource to learn about everything from meditation to baking. While neither of these brands saw huge score increases this year, it’s no surprised that they ended 2020 on top.

YouTube isn’t the only brand on this ranking that was a major resource and even survival tool during the year. PayPal became increasingly became a go-to brand, especially for Millennials, as shopping and payment shifted to digital platforms. Google was a key source of information and answers. Amazon was an at-home shopping haven when stores felt unsafe and other retailers weren’t quite ready for the ecommerce 180.

We’ll explore more of the highs, lows, and the whys behind the Yscore+ in How 2020 Impacted Brand Affinity. 

YPulse Pro and Prime subscribers will have full access to this report on 12/31. To learn more about accessing this content, click here!