Millennials’ Top 20 Favorite Brands

It’s free content week! We're counting down our five most popular articles of 2015 so far, and giving all our readers access to them. Here is the 2nd most clicked, originally published January 15th, 2015—we hope you enjoy!

We asked Millennials to tell us their favorite brands, and culled their quantitative responses into a top 20 list that reflects this generation's tastes, values, and needs. We're diving deep into what made their top 20 and why.

Our most clicked article of 2014 was our dive into the brands that Millennials trust. Today, we’re going straight to the big question and showing you the top 20 companies that surfaced when we asked 13-32-year-olds to tell us what their favorite brand is. This is a qualitative look at the question, which we left open-ended, and narrowed down to their top 20 responses to glean insight on the brands that are appealing to this generation, and those that aren’t making the list.

When asking about favorite brands, it’s important to keep in mind that the responses will include those that are top of mind, those that are used most often, and those that are actually viewed in a positive light. That being said, clearly the list of top 20 brands can tell us plenty about young consumers’ tastes:

Apple, Nike, and TOMS were the top three favorite brands, in that order. Apple’s position at the top is not a surprise. Despite the standing slip they took at one point in 2014, they remain the brand that Millennials use most, have top of mind, and have positive feelings for. The top brands also reflects this generation's tech-mindedness, with three of the top five brands in the tech category: Apple, Samsung, and Google. If Nike is included as a tech brand (think Nike Plus, etc.) that makes a full four out of five. Tech brands' high ranking echoes their position in the most trusted brand list, and again these tech brands’ dominance aligns with the generation’s reliance on their devices. But it also shows that those brands they see as innovative and quality are highly esteemed. Innovative was a word that came up again and again with these brands: a 16-year-old male named Samsung because “They are very innovative and try to push forward with technology,” and one 24-year-old female chose Apple because they are “constantly innovative.”

In the same survey, we also asked respondents to choose the aspects that makes them want to buy from a brand. 66% told us they chose to buy from brands that have a positive message, and 54% chose to buy from brands that make them feel good about themselves. These qualities are clearly possessed by the top brands listed. One 21-year-old male said of Apple: “They have good products and I feel good buying from them,” and a 31-year-old female told us Victoria’s Secret “[m]akes me feel good about myself.”

Overall open-end responses for favorite brand were incredibly fragmented, reflecting niche brands, more independent companies, celebrities, and more designer labels. Of course, not included in this top 20 are the many Millennials who told us they don’t have a favorite brand. A good amount of these respondents let us know that as long as a product was ethical, or good for the environment, they would buy it. One 25-year-old female said, “Anything reusable and good for the environment,” while a 23-year-old male told us, “I like any that are environmentally friendly.” This preference for brands (even if they won’t name any specific one) that make a positive impact in the world is clearly reflected in the top 20. TOMS, Google, Lush, Dove and Coca-Cola were all given kudos from respondents who named them as a favorite for making a difference and giving back. A 29-year-old female told us she chose TOMS because she "can feel good about making a purchase from them. They use responsibly-sourced material, fair-wage labor and give back to communities.”

The fashion brands who made the top 20 reflect two of Millennials’ desired brand qualities: affordability and quality. While Levi’s and J.Crew made the list for their quality products and style, those who named Forever 21 were more likely to mention low prices and budget.

Of course, the categories of brands that didn’t make the top 20 also speaks volumes about these consumers: no car or food companies managed to crack the list.  

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “I like following Jeffree Star on social media because he creates high-quality makeup while also being entertaining.”

—Female, 21, FL

Millennials are more likely to talk politics at work than their parents. A new study from Peakon has revealed that despite the highly-tense political climate, most Americans are actually comfortable discussing politics at work. Millennials are the most comfortable, with 68% stating they feel “no discomfort” talking about the topic, compared to 62% of 55-64-year-olds. According to Peakon, the internet has encouraged Millennials to “shar[e] their opinions everywhere—on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs, etc.,” and their desire for a “more transparent” workplace is also likely driving the trend. (Elite Daily

Honest Company is taking their diapers to the Major Leagues. In a partnership with MLB, the company is launching a “Born a Fan” collection in Target that will offer personal care products, household cleaners, and diapers with logos from six teams: the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs, Giants, Cardinals, and Dodgers. The brand hopes to tap into “hardcore” baseball fans with the venture, but according to one expert, it may end up being more of a novelty: “It[’ll be] fun to do once in a while. But ultimately parents know diaper performance, and they buy the best.” (Adweek

Aspiring musicians have found a home—and a lot of money—on emerging live streaming spaces. Not only do live stream apps, like YouNow and Live.ly, give up-and-coming music acts the chance to build up large fan bases, but the addition of virtual tip jars has become a lucrative channel of revenue for some, even eliminating the need to do IRL performances or sell recordings. Brent Morgan, a 29-year-old musician, is finding his way into the industry by broadcasting twice a day on YouNow, where he’s making between $15,000-$20,000 a month. (The Wall Street Journal

Asian-Pacific kids would choose internet over TV if they had to pick. TotallyAwesome’s APAC Kids Market Insights report found that 77% of six-14-year-olds in the Asia-Pacific region would prefer to use the internet exclusively versus just TV—an 11% increase from the year before. In five out of the seven countries surveyed, children are more likely to have access to smartphones than TV, but both TV and smartphones are the most popular devices used daily, with 60% using them multiple times a day, versus 44% who use tablets daily. (Kidscreen

Virtual reality is getting a “first-of-its-kind” animated family series. Raising a Rukus, created by Virtual Reality Company, follows the story “of two siblings and their mischievous pet dog Ruckus, who are traveling to different worlds and have magical adventures together.” VRC describes the experience as “watching a Pixar short—except that you are immersed in it.” The series will be available through headsets and in theaters, first in Canada and then North America later this summer. (Variety

Quote of the Day: “My favorite brand to follow on social media is Urban Outfitters because not only do they post about items I am interested in, but I also get inspired by the artistic photos that they post.”—Female, 16, CA

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