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3 Stats Show How Young Europeans Feel About American Brands

American brands have infiltrated young Europeans’ lives. But how do these young consumers feel about that? Three stats tell the story…


  • American brands top young Europeans’ favorite brand lists, and nearly half say these brands are higher quality
  • Many say they always try to buy from American brands—and the majority already have
  • But young Europeans want brands to learn from European culture, too

In the year that we’ve been surveying Gen Z and Millennials in the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, one thing has become clear: American culture has made its way across the pond and settled into the lives of young Europeans. Last year, we told you how the American-created holiday Halloween has become a mainstay for young Europeans, and earlier this year we found that prom has become a thing in Western Europe, too. Meanwhile, they’re watching American-made movies and TV shows, following American pop culture, and want to work for American companies. And when we asked them where they would travel if they could go anywhere in the world, they said (you guessed it) the U.S.

Beyond holidays, entertainment, and work, we’ve also found that young Europeans’ “top brands” lists are full of—and often topped by—popular American brands, from their favorite fast food restaurants to the fashion brands they say are the coolest to the brands with the highest overall YPulse+ score. Clearly, young Europeans have a high affinity for American culture and brands. But to get an even clearer sense of how they feel about American brands (and how they want American brands to interact with them) we asked 13-39-year-olds in Western Europe to tell us about their feelings towards them. Here are three stats from our WE Local / Global Citizenship survey that tell the story:

Nearly half of young Europeans say American brands are higher quality

Though the “buy local” movement is happening in Western Europe, too, young Europeans will go where the quality is—and for nearly half of these young consumers, that’s the U.S. That doesn’t mean their affinity for American brands is eclipsing their interest in local products, however. The majority (62%) of young Europeans say that European brands are higher quality than brands from other countries,” and 70% it’s trendy to buy products locally. But with the home-field advantage in mind, the fact that half of young Europeans say American brands are higher quality is still significant, and shouldn’t be ignored by brands. This sentiment is highest in the U.K. (50%) and among Millennial parents, 52% of whom say American brands are higher quality compared to 43% of non-parents.

Young Europeans’ views on quality are also driving their shopping behaviors: 39% say they always try to buy American brands, if possible, which, again, is highest among U.K. consumers (44%) and parents (48%). And even if they don’t always try to buy American, many already have…

The vast majority have purchased something from an American brand

Whether they think American brands are higher quality or not, young Europeans are supporting them: just 18% of young Europeans say they’ve never purchased a product from an American brand, meaning the vast majority have an American logo somewhere in their possession. Electronics and clothing are the top types of products they say they’ve purchased from an American brand, which makes sense—Apple is their favorite tech brand, and Nike is the brand with the highest overall YScore+ among young Europeans, and one of the brands they consider the “coolest.”  Spanish consumers are the most likely to say they’ve purchased something from an American brand (91%), and clothing is their top purchase, with 49% saying they bought clothes from an American brand.

Two-thirds say American brands should learn from other cultures, too

While two in three young Europeans agree with the statement, “U.S. culture creates global culture,” that doesn’t mean that American brands can’t learn a thing or two from other cultures. In fact, in addition to saying that American brands could learn from their culture, 65% agree, “American brands could learn from companies from other countries.” In other words, American brands should take the time to learn from local culture rather than parachuting into a country with only American values in hand, and should look to local brands for inspiration. An easy way to start is to incorporate global trends in their marketing, which 68% of young Europeans agree is a good idea for brands. With young Europeans already favoring and investing in them, American brands have an opportunity to win even more of these consumers’ affinity by becoming more globally minded.

YPulse Western Europe Business users can access the full WE Local / Global Citizenship survey behavioral report and data here.

Don’t have a YPulse Western Europe Business account? Find out more here.