Gen Z & Millennials Think These Are 10 of The Hottest Fashion Brands

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

Clothing and accessories are at the top of young consumers’ wishlists, and our youth brand tracker reveals what fashion retail brands they think are hot right now…

When we asked Gen Z and Millennials what they want to receive for the holidays this year, clothing/accessories made the top of the list for the first time in years. (Money had been nabbing the top spot since 2016.) Clothes were also a major theme when we looked into how (and why) young consumers are treating themselves. Our recent trend research found that 43% of 13-36-year-olds like to buy nice clothes/accessories when they decide to treat themselves.

Needless to say, despite a rocky run of years trying to adjust to young consumers’ purchasing preferences and patterns, these are positive notes for the fashion retail industry. The New York Times also reported recently that some stores are rising up out of the retail apocalypse, with sales on the rise for several major brands. With clothing top of mind, and at the top of many of their shopping carts, we tapped into our youth brand tracker to find out which fashion retailers might be getting the benefit of positive buzz right now.

Our youth brand tracker Ybrands has collected over 60,000 interviews so far this year, tracking brands across a variety of variables, from the brands seen as supporting causes to the brands they’re telling their friends about—and the brands they think are hot right now. Here are the fashion retail brands that made it to the top of that ranking:

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

*Ybrands measures young consumers’ relationships with a brand based on a weighted 6-point scale, ranging from “Never heard of this brand” to “This brand is one of my favorites.” As part of Ybrands’ “Brand Momentum” metric, we also ask respondents “Which of the following are hot right now?” These are the top brands that were rated “hot,” among those who are aware of the brand. The brands on this list are among the almost 300 brands included in the brand tracker as of 12/4. Rankings are subject to change as more brands are added and removed. 

As we’ve seen in several other rankings, Nike is a top brand among young consumers—and the brand they’re most likely to say is hot right now, winning the top spot among all age groups. From their products to their marketing (yes, young consumers did like the Kaepernick move) it seems Nike can do no wrong. And the streetwear/athleisure trend is clearly still in full force, with sportswear and athletic brands crowding this top ranking.

We see far more variety in the second place spot, with 13-17-year-olds more likely to say Under Armour is hot, 18-24-year-olds to say Supreme is hot, and 25-36-year-olds to say that Jordan is hot. However, there is a fair amount of crossover between age groups, with all three of these brands making the top ten ranking among almost all. The major exception here is Under Armour, which falls to #16 among 18-24-year-olds.

Of course, the brands that female and male young consumers think are hot aren’t exactly the same:

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

While Nike still comes in at the top spot for both lists here, PINK, Victoria’s Secret, and Fashion Nova (the fast fashion brand that's Googled more often than Chanel) rank high as hottest brands among females, while Jordan and Supreme rank high among males.

Supreme makes the ranking for both genders as well, proving that their current status as the cool kid in the retail room stands strong.

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “A lot of people stay in jobs they hate. They feel stuck or need the money. I refuse to do this. I just gave up a Nursing career to be a CSR and I have never been happier.”—Female, 27, IN

YouTube is cracking down on creators that participate in dangerous viral challenges. The media giant updated their community guidelines to take a stronger stance against stunts that spin out of control—like the Tide Pod Challenge. Any creator that performs “pranks that make victims believe they’re in serious physical danger” will earn a strike—three and they’re out. What could constitute a strike? Just ask Jake Paul, who recently drove blindfolded for the #BirdBoxChallenge. (The Verge)

The inner five-year-old of Millennials everywhere is jumping up and down for Hot Topic’s Polly Pocket collab. In partnership with Mattel, the brand that wins at delivering unique styles is dropping a 17-piece collection of nostalgic merch. (The line looks a lot like another throwback collection we called out last year.) In celebration of the iconic toy’s 30th birthday (feel old yet?), ‘90s kids can cop everything from bags to hats to mini makeup palettes that feature shades like “Made in the 90s.” (Nylon)

YouTubers Life OMG! is like The Sims for a generation of aspiring social media stars. Players can pretend to be a video game streamer, a passionate creative, or another influencer. But the game is just as realistic as the kids who play it, making them do chores and deliver newspapers when they’re off the air. Similarly, most kids seem to know the dream is not a full-time gig; just take it from nine-year-old Oliver, who explains, “Of course I will have a good job as well, not just YouTube." (Vice)

Big brands are swooping in to save young shoppers from 2018’s oat milk shortage. The buzzy beverage has become the environmentally friendly alternative to almond milk for Millennial & Gen Z shoppers seeking dairy-free and vegan options. It became a barista favorite this year, mainly thanks to industry upstart, Oatly, which is opening a new factory to up their production. But they better hurry: big brands like Pepsi Co.’s Quaker Oats, Danone’s Silk, and Califia Farms are all getting in on this grain-based trend. (Bloomberg)

The most old-fashioned form of TV is experiencing a surge: over-the-air. While the Post-TV Gen continue to cut the cord, more are buying physical antennas to tap free networks and watch live events. Nielsen data found that this kind of old-school appointment viewing jumped from 9% of all homes in 2010 to 14% last year. Diving deeper into that 14%, about three in five also subscribe to streaming services like Netflix, and their median age is 36. (Fortune)

Quote of the Day: “I’d rather do a job I'm passionate about for a lower salary than do a high-paying but low-rewarding job.”—Male, 18, MA

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