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Young Europeans’ 15 Favorite European Brands

Young Europeans may love American brands, but their affinity for European brands is high, too…


TL;DR

  • Young Europeans are consuming international products and media—but they also say European brands are higher quality
  • Fast and luxury fashion brands are their favorite European brands
  • But young Europeans also have high affinity for European car companies—especially luxury ones

YPulse has long said that Gen Z and Millennials are generations of global citizens—and the same is true in Western Europe, too. Our WE Local / Global Citizenship survey shows that the majority of young Europeans consider themselves citizens of the world, and that they’re consuming products and media from around the globe. In fact, in the year that we’ve been surveying young Europeans, it’s become clear that these gens have an especially high affinity for American brands and culture. 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. Meanwhile, they’re watching American-made movies and TV shows, following American pop culture, and want to work for American companies.

But that doesn’t mean they’re turning their backs on their home-grown cultures. In fact, the majority young Europeans agree, “I’m proud to be from my country”—and that local pride extends to brands and products, too. Three in five say European brands are higher quality than brands from other countries, and the same amount say that they buy European-made products whenever possible.

So what are the European brands they like most? In our WE Local / Global Citizenship survey, we asked 13-39-year-olds in Western Europe the open-end question, “What is your favorite European brand?” Here are their top 15 replies:

Favorite European Brands
Among 13-39-year-olds in Western Europe

  1. Adidas
  2. Zara
  3. Gucci
  4. Audi
  5. H&M
  6. BMW
  7. Volkswagen
  8. Mercedes
  9. IKEA
  10. Ferrari
  11. Peugeot
  12. L’Oréal
  13. Fiat
  14. Nivea
  15. Dior

Europe’s top fashion brands are among their favorites

European culture is synonymous with fashion, so it’s no surprise that many of young Europeans’ favorite national brands are churning out trendy ‘fits. But, it should be noted that Nike topped their list of favorite European brands, despite the fact that it’s an American brand. Nike has become ubiquitous in Gen Z and Millennials’ culture and style, ranking as their No. 3 coolest brand, and their No. 4 favorite place to buy clothing. With their lives saturated in Nike, it’s possible these gens have never even thought about where exactly it comes from, leading them to believe it’s local rather than international.

Removing Nike from the list, their top actual favorite European brand is Adidas, Gen Z and Millennials’ other favorite sportswear company. Adidas, of course, has kept it fresh by feeding young consumers’ love of streetwear, but the German brand has also forged partnerships and campaigns that tap into these gens’ other interests. The brand recently made moves into the metaverse, for instance, with a bespoke avatar creation platform. Meanwhile, the brand recently partnered with artist Hebru Brantley to create the “Light Blue Sneaker,” which features some of the illustrator’s iconic characters—and created a campaign that leveraged Main Character Energy to market it.

Beyond Adidas, young Europeans also favor two of Europe’s fast fashion heavy hitters: Zara and H&M. These brands also top young Europeans’ list of favorite places to buy clothing, which is due, in part, to their price constraints. In fact, our recent WE Fashion Preferences and Style survey found that nearly three in five young Europeans say they buy fast fashion because it’s all they can afford. But let’s not forget that these retailers are also producing the clothes Gen Z and Millennials actually want to wear: the majority say that buying from fast fashion is the best way to wear the latest trends.

Young Europeans also love their luxury fashion brands

On the aspirational side of the spectrum, two of Western Europe’s most well-known (and renowned) luxury fashion brands also make their list: Gucci and Dior. Though young consumers’ shifting attitudes about high-end goods have led to a redefinition of luxury, young Europeans aren’t turning their backs on the industry. The majority have already purchased a luxury product, and more are interested in doing so. But that doesn’t mean luxury brands aren’t in need of a refresh to reach these gens’ spending capacity and interests—both of which Gucci has excelled at. In addition to gaining traction in the gaming space and metaverse, Gucci has also found a way to speak Gen Z’s language via TikTok. With 1.7 million followers, the brand has been dubbed the app’s “most popular luxury brand for Gen Z” by Vogue, an honor it’s won with engaging content, hashtag challenges (including the #GucciModelChallenge and #GucciAbsoluteBeginners). Meanwhile, the hit movie House of Gucci starring Lady Gaga upped young consumers’ interest in the brand, as did Gucci’s surrounding campaigns. In the U.K., for example, Gucci hid vintage pieces across 50 different George at Asda shops, giving fans a fun scavenger hunt—and a way to score some primo luxury vintage at majorly discounted prices.

Luxury car brands are also popular with young Europeans

Though European culture is not thought of as car-focused, young Europeans are car owners—and fans. The majority of Millennials in Western Europe own a car, and half of all young Europeans say COVID made them want to own a car even more than before. But beyond the functionality of driving, young Europeans’ interest in car brands is at least partially aspirational: luxury car brands make the list of luxury brands they most want to own. Meanwhile, like all luxury brands, car manufacturers are finding new ways to reach these gens, from infiltrating gaming with virtual driving experiences and branded equipment as well as joining motorsports.

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.