Every brand wants to know where they stand with Gen Z. Though Millennials have the most spending power of the generations currently, Gen Z are determining trends across industries, and as they get older only have more influence as consumers. Even the youngest of Gen Z are impacting the purchasing decisions of their Millennial parents, so getting in with the gen early sets up their affinity later in life. But how can you know where your brand stands with Gen Z, and how the top brands have gotten to where they are?
YPulse’s Brand Tracker monitors the brand health of over 600 brands in North America on a weekly basis, revealing 13-39-year-olds’ affinity for brands across industries. The brand data looks at 20 youth-centric diagnostics, including which brands they think are cool, reflect who they are, are talked about, reflect diversity, make the world better, get them, and more. All of these individual measures then roll up into YScore+; an overall snapshot of how your brand is performing among young consumers. Here are the 15 brands scoring highest among Gen Z today:
Gen Z’s Top Brands Across All Industries
- Cash App
YouTube still outranks TikTok for Gen Z’s favorite social media brand
YouTube is Gen Z’s highest scoring brand overall and being that it’s their most used social media platform it’s easy to see why. This gen grew up on YouTube, making it their go-to for entertaining content; still, half of Gen Z say they use YouTube on a daily basis, and though short(er)-form content has become a staple, they still prefer a long video over a short one—surely thanks to their commitment to YouTube. In addition to simply being a hub for their favorite content, YouTube also benefits from the fact that YPulse data shows Gen Z are more likely to be loyal to brands they’ve used their whole life, meaning that while new apps may gain their affinity, the long-standing favorite will continue to have their love.
But TikTok has taken a solid place amongst their top brands, and Gen Z name it as their favorite social media platform (and the most addictive). YPulse’s The TikTok Effect trend report found that 45% Gen Z TikTok users spend three or more hours a day on TikTok, with 18% saying they spend five or more on the app daily. The brand itself doesn’t have to do much to win their affinity, as the endless stream of content from their favorite creators on the app keeps them coming back for more and loving the app in turn. But make no mistake, YouTube still outpaces TikTok in overall usage and affinity, and shows no signs of being overtaken in either category soon after so many years as a top brand for the gen.
Meanwhile, Instagram has fallen down their ranks from its number sixteen spot last year, showing how the two video-based platforms truly dominate their attention and affinity. And though other platforms, including Instagram, have tried to push video to keep up, YPulse data shows Gen Z likes each platform for different purposes, so it’s not necessarily important that every platform mimic the features of others to win their affinity.
Apple and iPhone are both ranking high for Gen Z this year
While it’s no secret that Apple is a top brand for Gen Z, this year is the first time we’re seeing both parent brand Apple and their prize product iPhone on their ranking. YPulse recently spoke to the Financial Times about Gen Z’s dedication to Apple and the phenomenon of blue bubble texts, as our data shows just how preferred Apple is among the younger gen. While they consistently rate Samsung high in diagnostics like “trusted”, “reliable” and “innovative,” they still prefer to make the more popular choice amongst their peers, lest they be the one friend who makes the group chat texts green. In fact, our Mobile / App Behavior data shows of the 96% of Gen Z who have smartphones, 77% have an iPhone. And our Brand Loyalty data shows that across industries, there is no product Gen Z is more loyal to than smartphones—where the majority are open to using brands other than their first choice for everything else from personal care products to cars, 65% of Gen Z say they have one brand they like and will always use that brand for smartphones.
Gen Z’s affinity for Amazon shows they’re already online shopping champions
Some brands are holding out on the hope that Gen Z will save in-person shopping, but Amazon stands as their third top brand of all, so retailers would be mistaken to think this gen won’t take up the online shopping torch. YPulse’s Shopping and Retail report shows that for the first time since before the pandemic, in-person shopping is once again Gen Z’s preference, but more than a third still say they prefer to shop online. And overall, they shop online nearly as much (66%) as they do in-person (70%), showing that the ease of access, around-the-clock availability, and endless catalogs keep them dedicated online shoppers.
All these factors also lead to their preference for mass merch and big box shopping, which YPulse’s Mass Merch Mentality report shows are the top stores they choose for clothing, beauty products, and home goods specifically. Beyond just that category, though, Amazon is the second top store Gen Z says they regularly shop at (just behind Walmart) for all the reasons they love online and mass merch shopping, but also because of its constant viral products. Anything Gen Z wants to buy they can easily find an influencer recommendation for linked to an Amazon product—and our data shows just how much young people in general value influencer recommendations, so we can add that to the list of reasons Amazon will continue to be a top shopping destination for this gen. And though they have dabbled in brick-and-mortar stores to pull Gen Z in yet another way, their online marketplace is certainly what makes them a top brand for Gen Z.