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Top Brand Affinity Rises According to WE Gen Z and Millennials Leaving 2022

Young adult holding a pair of Nike

These 10 brands end the year with the most significant boosts in affinity among Gen Z and Millennials in Western Europe..


  • There are two fintech apps among the biggest YScore+ risers
  • Nike is the top rising brand leaving 2022 among Gen Z and Millennials in Western Europe
  • A football brand is leaving 2022 with a significant increase in its YScore+

YPulse’s exclusive Gen Z and Millennials brand tracker uses 20 youth-specific diagnostics to measure brands’ performance among young consumers, including which ones they think are cool, reflect who they are, are talked about, and more. Those individual scores are compiled into YScore+, an overall measure of the affinity performance of a brand, which can be used to determine ranking compared to other brands within a single industry or between all brands competing for young consumers’ attention and spend. Each year, YPulse uses YScore+ to share the top performing brands among these gens, as well as those that saw the biggest increases and decreases in affinity across the year.

In Western Europe, our exclusive brand tracker covers over 700 brands in the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. As we end 2022, we’re bringing you the top YScore+ rises of the year, meaning the brands that have seen the most significant boosts in affinity, across all industries:

The Brands Ending 2022 With the Top YScore+ Increase

Among 13-39-year-olds:

  1. Nike (+11)
  2. Revolut (+9)
  3. UEFA European League (+9)
  4. HBO Max (+9)
  5. StudySmarter (+9)
  6. Apple (+9)
  7. Calvin Klein Intimates (+8)
  8. Xoom (+8)
  9. Victoria’s Secret (+8)
  10. Klarna (+8)


Young Europeans’ love for Nike just keeps growing

Nike has a long history of topping our brand lists among Gen Z and Millennials in North America, and year after year it remains young people’s “coolest fashion brand.” But Nike is very popular in Western Europe, too: young Europeans also think Nike is one of the overall coolest brands, one of the luxury brands they most want to own (despite it not being a luxury brand), the brand they feel the strongest sense of community around, as well as the brand with the highest YPulse+ score. Despite being already one of young Europeans’ favorite brands, Nike ends the year as the brand with the biggest YScore+ rise.

In 2022, Nike has continued to build successful campaigns and social media strategies that engage European Gen Z and Millennials, and make them feel a part of something big. In October, it tackled the little-known topic of discrimination in the swimming pool, and launched a  campaign in the U.K. to end the stigma around Black swimmers. More recently, Nike released a documentary-style ad featuring footballer Alphonso Davies to end the stigma around refugees. And just before the football World Cup, Nike went viral with its “FootballVerse Ad”, showcasing past football legends with current stars. Like their peers across the Atlantic, young Europeans love the work that Nike does to tackle social issues, and cite the brand’s effort on inclusion as a major reason why they love the brand.

Speaking of football, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is the second biggest riser leaving 2022

The main European football organization—the UEFA—is the third biggest rising brand leaving 2022, and this didn’t happen by chance, with two major football events taking place this year. First, the European Women’s Football Championship (or “the Euro”) was in England in June, and by many standards, the tournament was a success. Tickets for the games throughout the tournament sold out, and the final became the most attended event for any women’s or men’s Euro final tournament game. Brands jumped on the trend—YPulse told you everything about it—and the very fact that TikTok was the official sponsor of the event underscores how important women’s football is becoming in Western Europe. 2022 was also the year of the Men’s Football World Cup, which puts a global spotlight on the sport every four years. This year’s World Cup was even more talked about than previous ones, probably due to the many controversies around the host country Qatar—such as its anti-LGBTQ+ laws. In France, the final of the tournament (opposing France to Argentina) became the most-watched event ever on TF1—France’s main TV broadcaster.

Our Sports and Athletics Report confirmed that football continues to be a huge part of European culture for Gen Z and Millennials, and has become intertwined with young Europeans’ identities. For example, viewership of the World Cup far outpaces that of the Superbowl, the U.S.’s biggest sporting event, putting into perspective just how important this sport is.

Two finance apps saw big affinity boosts this year, showing young Europeans’ increasing interest in finance solutions

It’s no coincidence that Revolut and Klarna, two fintech companies, make the top list of biggest YScore+ risers in Western Europe leaving 2022. YPulse has informed you how young Europeans’ finances have been negatively impacted in the past two years first by the global pandemic, then by the cost-of-living crisis. As a result, many young Europeans have focused on becoming financially stable, and turned to FinTech apps to find help to manage their finances. Data from YPulse’s Personal Finance & Services Report shows that 81% of European Gen Z and Millennials are interested in learning how to improve their financial situation.

Revolut was created to disrupt the banking sector, and has been successful over the years at attracting young consumers to its flexible finance services. 2022 was a busy year for the London-based FinTech company, which likely explains why it ended the year with such a big YScore+ rise: it launched Revolut<18 to target children and youth, and also started offering a buy now, pay later (BNPL) option to its customers. YPulse told you how BNPL is on the rise in Western Europe, and data from our Shopping and Retail Report shows that the number of young Europeans using BNPL is up +6pts since last year. We know European Gen Z and Millennials are looking for affordable options when shopping, and the flexibility offered by BNPL is an appealing option for them. It also explains why Klarna is on the list of brands ending the year with the biggest YScore+. The Swedish start-up has rapidly expanded across Western Europe last year, and many brands in the region—such as B&M and Deliveroo—have started to use their services to offer young consumers a BNPL option.