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NA vs WE: Who Is More Brand Loyal?

Gen Z and Millennials aren’t known for being brand loyal. But how does this compare between North America and Western Europe?


  • YPulse has long said that Gen Z and Millennials are “loyal-ish” to brands, and in both regions, this holds true today
  • Young North Americans say they’re more loyal to brands while young Europeans are more loyal-ish
  • But young Europeans are staying more devoted to international brands

Though we often see the same names topping their favorite brand lists (hey, Nike), Gen Z and Millennials don’t have a reputation for brand loyalty. When it comes to buying the same brand over competing brands, these gens are known to stray. But as we found in our 2016 trend report, Gen Z and Millennials are actually Loyal-ish: they will stick to brands, but those brands have to do just the right things to keep these young consumers coming back. In the years since, their loyal-ish behaviors have not changed: our new Brand Loyalty behavioral report found that 77% of Gen Z and Millennials in North America consider themselves loyal to at least one brand, but that they’d readily switch loyalties if a better or more affordable product came along.

Now, for the first time, we’ve surveyed young consumers in Western Europe about their brand loyalty, too—and we’ve found a similar attitude. While 75% of young Europeans consider themselves loyal to at least one brand, the majority also agree, “Prices matter more than brand names when I shop.”

So who is the most brand loyal? And do the brands they consider themselves loyal to differ? These two charts tell the story:

Young Europeans are leaning into loyal-ish

The verdict is in: young North Americans are more brand loyal. Though the majority of young Europeans consider themselves loyal, just one-quarter consider themselves very loyal compared to more than a third of young North Americans. Instead, Gen Z and Millennials in Western Europe are loyal-ish, meaning brands will have to work to win their allegiance.

But there are things brands can do to keep young consumers in both regions coming back for more. When we ask why they continue to choose a specific brand’s products or services, the top response in both regions is “The product is reliable.” But for young Europeans, performance is important, too: their No. 2 reason for staying loyal is “Best performing products” while young North Americans say affordability. Meanwhile, when we ask what would keep them loyal to a brand, new, innovative products top their list, underscoring how important it is for brands to not rest on their laurels. In fact, 69% of young Europeans (and 73% of North Americans) tell YPulse they will continue to buy the same brand until someone makes something better. Overall, in both regions, being loyal-ish means they want good products—and if they aren’t getting what they’re after, they’re going for a better brand.

But there is some good news for American brands trying to reach young Europeans:

Young Europeans are more loyal to international brands

In both regions, young consumers tell us they’re most loyal to large corporations. But in Western Europe, international brands are a very close second—and it’s likely “international” largely means “American.” 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 brands are among their favorites. From their favorite fast food restaurants to the fashion brands they say are the coolest to the brands with the highest overall YPulse+ score, American brands routinely top their lists. Meanwhile, our WE Local / Global Citizenship survey found that nearly half of young Europeans say American brands are higher quality than brands from other countries, and 82% have purchased a product from an American brand. Though we’ve also found that they have a high affinity for European brands, these young consumers are global citizens through and through—and that’s something they’ll stay loyal to.

YPulse Western Europe Business users can access the full WE Brand Loyalty behavioral report and data here.

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