YPulse’s new Gen Z and Brands Special Report delves into the biggest things brands need to know about Gen Z, from their core drivers as a generation to their top brands. Gen Z has grown up in a unique time, and the world events, media, technology, and demographics that have been their norms are shaping their behaviors—and brand preferences. This young generation is increasingly becoming the focus of more brands, and as with every generation before them they’re bringing their unique worldviews to more and more industries, forcing brands to rethink marketing, products, values, and more. YPulse’s youth brand tracker keeps a pulse on the brands that are winning out with them.
Our brand data monitors the brand health of over 400 brands on a weekly basis, revealing 13-39-year-olds’ affinity for brands across industries. The brand data looks at 20 youth-centric diagnostics, including which brands they think are cool, reflect who they are, are talked about, reflect diversity, make the world better, and more. All of these individual measures then roll up into Yscore+; an overall snapshot of how your brand is performing among young consumers.
The Gen Z and Brands Special Report includes the data on the top brands among Gen Z across multiple industries, and call outs on who’s at the top of the ranking for key diagnostics—and how they’re reaching this generation. Today, we’re giving you a glimpse of Gen Z’s brand preferences by revealing the 10 brands with the highest Yscore+ among this group:
The 10 Brands with the Top YScore+ Among Gen Z
Let’s start at the top: Amazon is the brand with the highest Yscore+ among Gen Z outpacing YouTube, Netflix, and TikTok. Though Gen Z has in the past been held up as the potential saviors of in-store shopping, it’s clear that their affinity for online shopping is significant. While Millennials are currently more likely to have Amazon Prime, Gen Z isn’t far behind, with nearly half (45%) of 13-19-year-olds saying they are subscribers to the service according to YPulse data. This generation is aging into their digital financial independence, and as they do online retail will continue to thrive with them. Gen Z is also budget-minded, having grown up in the shadow of the Great Recession, and their shopping preferences lean practical. Organically, #FoundItOnAmazon videos have trended on Gen Z-favored platform TikTok, bringing more attention to the deals and product dupes that can be found on the site. The retail giant has also been doing a lot to stay engaged with them. For this year’s Prime Day, the platform hosted free concerts with Gen Z-favorite musicians like Billie Eilish, Kid Cudi, and H.E.R to attract those young fans and customers. Prime Video, which our recent media consumption behavioral survey found that 28% of 13-19-year-olds use to watch video content weekly or more often, is becoming host to more new hot movies releases and shows as well.
Meanwhile, Quizlet takes the second spot on the top YScore+ ranking among Gen Z. For those who don’t know it, Quizlet is a free online learning tool that provides flashcards, games, and more—and Gen Z’s high affinity for the brand is just one example of how their education has been digitized. At the end of last year, YPulse’s report on How 2020 Impacted Brand Affinity reported that Quizlet is very popular with young users. Now, the platform is making its way into social media as well, collaborating with TikTok to garner attention from even more young users.The majority of Gen Z is still in school, so part of their affinity for Quizlet is certainly their life stage—in fact, Kahoot!, another EdTech brand, makes the top 10 here as well. But their early adoption of self-led education tools could also impact them beyond K-12, as they choose college paths, and enter the workplace with an expectation that training and help tools will be as online, simple, and easy-to-access as what they grew up with.
YouTube and Netflix rank third and fourth among Gen Z’s top brands, and those shouldn’t come as a surprise given this generation’s history with the platforms. Gen Z has grown up on YouTube, which is their top source for video content, followed by, you guessed it, Netflix. It’s likely not a coincidence that these two platforms are also the top two media sources they feel are diverse and inclusive. Gen Z is the most diverse generation to date, and their desire for representation is impacting their brand and media choices. YouTube is even the top brand that Gen Z believes is making the world a better place, beating out Amazon and Quizlet.
Nike is fifth on the ranking of top brands among Gen Z, and notably the sole fashion brand on the list. Nike has been a consistent favorite among Gen Z, who cite the brand’s comfort and their inclusion as major reasons that they like it. It’s also the brand that scores highest on the “cool” diagnostic across all industries, and ranks as the “coolest” fashion brand among young consumers overall.
Meanwhile, TikTok takes the sixth place, and is the only social platform in the top 10—a sign of just how much this app has connected with the young generation. The platform’s popularity accelerated among Gen Z during the pandemic as a way to keep themselves entertained, occupied, and connected with their friends. It has quickly become a culture-creating hub for this generation, with the majority telling YPulse that TikTok is where trends are created before they spread elsewhere. The majority of Gen Z is now using the app, and they’re more likely to be than Millennials.
It’s notable that the rest of the brands round out the top ten—PayPal, Google, Kahoot!, and Apple—are all tech brands; an indication of Gen Z’s natural affinity for all things digital. Apple and Google also ranked as the top brands that Gen Z wants to work for, and tech brands have been an integral part of this generation’s life from birth. The youngest members of Gen Z are now growing up with smart speakers in their homes and Google in their classrooms, making them more likely to have love for these brands as they age up.
YPulse Business users can access the full Gen Z and Brands Special Report and data here.
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