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: “Retail should be a facilitator for experience, rather than just selling product.”—Sharmandean Reid, Founder, Wah Nails London (YPulse)

Millennials seeking portable booze are cracking open canned wine. Even though the category still only accounts for less than 1% of the Millennial-favorite alcoholic beverages’ market, Nielsen reports it spiked 69% last year and continues to gain ground. An exec at Delicato Family Wines explains, “Millennials have grown up in a world where consuming wine outdoors—or any location outside of the traditional table—is more acceptable than generations past.” (Wine Spectator)

Summer camps are cropping up to teach kids how to become YouTubers. At I-D Tech Camps, Level Up, and Star Camps, kids can learn all about how to, as the latter puts it, “Become an Internet sensation.” They offer courses in how to create and post videos, from shooting clips to editing audio, and how to build their personal brand. But don’t worry, most are framing YouTubing as a hobby, not a career, and setting kids’ expectations accordingly. (WSJ)

A new bill could change the free-to-play profit model that’s made games like Fortnite top earners. Senators have proposed the official ban of “loot boxes,” or items that players can buy (and sometimes must buy) to win a video game, often gambling on what’s inside. Senator Ed Markey explains that “Inherently manipulative game features that take advantage of kids and turn play time into pay time should be out of bounds.” For some, this will eliminate a key revenue stream and open the door to review other in-game purchases.  (The Verge)

A social media overhaul upped Corn Nuts’ sales by 12%—with no paid support.The snack’s sales were stagnant before a new exec took over their Twitter, infusing it with the personable tone food brands have become known for (and sometimes notorious for). Since then, followers spiked from 650 to 21,000, and what they’re calling a “scrappy” strategy “absolutely translated to sales,” reporting that retail sales spiked 12% and Millennials’ repeat purchases rose the same percentage. (Marketing Dive)

The retail apocalypse continues, with 7,000 more stores closing their doors in 2019. CoStar Group estimates that the square footage of retail space closed has topped its own record each year since 2017, and this year they’re “predicting more of the same.” PayLess ShoeSource, Gymboree, Dressbarn, and Charlotte Russe lead the list of number stores planned to shutter this year, as retailers learn to scale down size and up Experiencification for young shoppers. (Business Insider

Quote of the Day: “It’s a really interesting time at the moment in catalog [music]…Sometimes, it’s a question of how we make something out of nothing.”—Tim Fraser-Harding, President, Global Catalogue, Recorded Music at Warner Music Group (Rolling Stone)

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