Gen Z is bringing their unique worldviews to more and more industries, forcing brands to rethink marketing, and consider their values. And while many brands are already turning their attention to Gen Alpha—YPulse just released a special trend report on this gen—Gen Z is a generation currently spending (a lot) in stores, and online, meaning it’s crucial to know what brands they have the most affinity with right now.
Through our brand tracker, YPulse monitors the brand health of over 800 brands in Western Europe across 20 distinct youth-centric diagnostics including which brands they think are cool, reflect who they are, are talked about, and more. All these individual measures are rolled up into YScore+; an overall snapshot of how your brand is performing among 13-39-year-olds, with all brand diagnostics and scores available to Pro subscribers via our brand dashboards. But we’re sharing some of it with you today, with the latest list of the top 15 brands among European Gen Z according to YScore+:
European Gen Z’s Favorite Brands
Among 13-21-year-olds in Western Europe
- Fédération Francaise de Football
- Google Classroom
Nike is the brand with the highest YScore+ among Gen Z, followed by Apple
Let’s start at the top: Nike is the brand with the highest YScore+ among European Gen Z, outpacing Apple, PayPal, and Netflix. And it’s not just among the younger gen that Nike is so loved: as we are writing these lines, Nike is also the second top brand for European Millennials according to YPulse’s brand tracker. Among all the 20 youth-centric diagnostics that make up the YScore+, perhaps the most sought-after by brands across all industries is “cool,” and the coolest brand among European Gen Z is—you guessed it—Nike. To European Gen Z, Nike is more than a streetwear company: it is a brand that is constantly releasing cool products like a book on design, or Montreal Bagel sneakers, as well as voicing current social issues—from discrimination in sports to refugee rights. Nike is also staying relevant among Gen Z by investing in the metaverse, where its virtual products are selling fast—and at a high price.
Behind Nike is Apple, the brand with the second highest YScore+ among European Gen Z, and data from YPulse’s recent Tech / Device Usage Report reveals that Apple is also European Gen Z’s favorite tech brand. Young consumers in Western Europe seem to appreciate the premium effect that Apple products provide, and increasingly see the iPhone as a must-have. The words of one of our respondents—a 16-year-old male from the U.K.—probably best capture Gen Z’s love for Apple: “I’ve used their products and items for all my life and not once have they let me down.” Apple is planning to keep innovating to remain a top brand among Gen Z, and has recently announced plans to release a VR headset that would make virtual reality more accessible to the younger gen.
YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram are among the top 10 brands, showing how important social media brands are in young Europeans’ lives
YouTube is the fifth top brand among European Gen Z, and it is no surprise to see the Google-owned platform performing so well, considering that Gen Z grew up with YouTube. And it looks like YouTube will continue to be an integral source of entertainment and education for young consumers in Western Europe in the years to come. In our recent Gen Alpha Spotlight trend report, YPulse told you that YouTube is the top social media platform used by European parents, with 39% of Millennial parents in the region saying their children are using the platform. In other words, Gen Alpha is joining Gen Z as the next generation who is being raised on YouTube.
After YouTube, the next social media brand on the list is TikTok. YPulse informed you recently that TikTok became the most used social platform among European Gen Z, underscoring how the social media platform is increasingly winning the attention war. The success of TikTok among European Gen Z makes sense considering its capacity to make young people stay on the platform: data from YPulse’s recent Social Media Behavior report shows that 54% of Gen Z in Western Europe describe TikTok as “addictive.” By comparison, only 14% of European Gen Z say Instagram is addictive.
But the third social media brand on the list of the top brands according to European Gen Z is Instagram, showing that the platform remains a staple among young consumers in the region—despite increasing competition with TikTok which makes Instagram look cringe for this gen. The importance of Instagram among Gen Z in Western Europe shouldn’t be ignored, and brands should continue their presence and marketing on the platform.
While four EdTech brands are among European Gen Z’s favorite brands
Looking more closely at the list of the top brands according to European Gen Z reveals four EdTech brands: Kahoot!, SimpleClub, Google Classroom, and Duolingo. YPulse has long told you that thanks to their early access to the internet, Gen Z has grown into instinctual DIY researchers and learners. And with the majority of Gen Z still in school, or college, their affinity for EdTech brands is certainly due to their life stage. This explains why EdTech brands are also popular among Gen Z in North America, with Kahoot! and Quizlet on the list of the brands with the highest YScore+ among American Gen Z. Gen Z’s early adoption of self-led education tools will impact them beyond school, as they 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—and this is only going to accelerate considering the rise of Artificial Intelligence tools.