Teen Guys Versus Girls: 15 Brands They Plan to Buy

Gen Z consumers are today’s teens, and we looked at the brands they say they’ll buy—and compared guys’ and girls’ purchasing preferences…

We learned a lot about Gen Z in the last year—and with the oldest members of the generation firmly in their teen years, we’re starting to get a sense of what kinds of brands they prefer. According to YPulse’s finance monitor data, teens’ estimated direct pending power (based on the spending money they report having monthly) is currently between $74 billion and $118 billion. And as fintech solutions continue to emerge to digitize teens’ spending, they’ll have increasing control over the brands they purchase and how their spending power is wielded. As it stands, online recommendations and recommendations from friends and family are the top influences on teens’ brand preferences. They’re also influencing what brands are purchased for their households: Parents tell us that the number one influencer of the brands they buy for their kids are requests from their kids.

Brands are, as always, eager to appeal to these young consumers, with some tapping teens to help with ad campaign and product development. To find out which are actually getting them to pull out their (or their parents’) wallets, we tapped YPulse’s continuous brand tracking survey, which measures the perceptions of 13-39-year-old consumers across 400+ brands and 81,000 interviews annually. We get young consumers’ perceptions of brands across industries, and also ask them which brands they would use, buy, or buy from in the future. Looking at the data for this dimension, we compared the brands that male and female teens plan to buy, and found which are appealing to both groups, and which are trending higher with one or the other:

*YPulse’s youth brand tracker 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.” We also ask respondents “Which of the following would you USE, BUY, OR BUY FROM in the future?” These are the top brands that were rated as ones they would use, buy, or buy from, among those who are aware of the brand. The brands on this list are among the almost 400 brands included in the brand tracker as of 3/6/2019. Rankings are subject to change as more brands are added and removed.

There is a fair amount of crossover in the top brands that teens guys and girls say they’ll be buying, with 10 out of the top 15 appearing on the top ranking for both genders: Amazon, Oreo, Lay’s, Doritos, Reese’s, Hershey’s, Netflix, Apple, and Nike. Of those, Lay’s, M&M’s, Apple, and Netflix were rated slightly higher among females, while Doritos and Nike fared better among guys. (Amazon, Hershey’s and Oreo placed similarly with guys and girls alike, showing the cross-gender appeal of chocolate and convenience online shopping.)

But of course the real juice is in the brands that appeared exclusively on males’ and females’ will use/buy lists (bolded in the table to help distinguish differences). Target appears on females’ list and not males’, and is the only retailer outside of Amazon to make the top 15 brands these teens plan to buy from (a warning sign for others in the industry). And as the retailer makes moves towards becoming a one-stop wellness shop by stocking up on all-natural beauty brands, we could see young females favoring them even more—especially since, according to Gartner L2, Target advertises more on Pinterest (a female-dominated platform) than their competitors. The other brands that saw significant gender preference live in the CPG and QSR categories: in other words, teen guys and girls aren’t buying the same foods. Their snack preferences especially seem to differ, with teen females planning to buy Kit Kat, Cheetos, and Tostitos, while teen males plan to buy Gatorade, Chips Ahoy!, Sour Patch Kids, and Pop Tarts. Outside the home, McDonald’s was the sole food chain to make the top ranking among males, while Subway was the only food chain on females’ list.

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

Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?


The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “The [financial] industry has been slow to adapt to the ways in which young people want to be communicated with and to communicate with each other.”—Ian Rosen, CEO, StockTwits (YPulse)

Instagram users can now purchase products without leaving the app. The platform’s shopping tags are evolving to allow users to check out directly inside the app from about 20 retailers using saved payment and shipping information. The move doesn’t just give Facebook a direct cut of each sale, but also allows the platform to collect data that they’ll leverage in their ad targeting. Instagram’s influence over young consumers’ purchases continues to skyrocket, and according to our Shoppability trend, 72% of Gen Z & Millennials are open to buying products on social media. (Recode)

Disney and MAC Cosmetics are debuting a nostalgic makeup line for Aladdin fans. The Disney Aladdin collection features lipstick, an eyeshadow palette, and bronzer in jewel and metallic hues that Princess Jasmine might wear with her bright turquoise outfit. The partnership is part of the lead-up to the live-action Aladdin’s debut, and isn’t MAC’s first time introducing fans to whole new worlds of Disney-themed cosmetics. In the past, they’ve also released Cinderella and Disney villains-themed lines. (Teen Vogue)

Google announced their ambitious plan to become “the future of gaming:” a cloud-based streaming service called Stadia. Gamers will be able to play across device (phones, TVs, tablets, etc.) without waiting for the title to load in a YouTube-connected setting. That means viewers can instantly play titles featured in videos and stream their own gameplay to YouTube—which could challenge industry leader, Amazon-owned Twitch. The Netflix-like service is set to launch this year. (The Verge)

Instagrammable dim sum is going global. The craze stared in Hong Kong, where Social Places serves up bao made to look like tiny pigs and charcoal custard bao filled with “a thick liquid that oozes out like lava,” introducing three or four new incarnations each month to keep customers coming back. Meanwhile at Disneyland Hong Kong, Crystal Lotus customers dine on buns that look like their favorite animated characters, including Frozen's Olaf. In the U.S., San Francisco’s Chili House and New York’s RedFarm are some of the first to take on the trend. (Bloomberg)

Netflix’s next choose-your-own-adventure series lets viewers chart Bear Grylls’ journey through the wilderness. Soon, Netflix viewers will have the chance to become outdoors experts from the comfort of their couches, as they make the survival show celebrity’s choices as he traverses tricky situations. Grylls himself says that he’s “giving viewers an all-access pass to explore the world and its landscapes in my boots” and that “For the first time, my survival is in your hands.” (THR)

Quote of the Day: “One of the biggest myths about Millennials is that they do not want to engage with human beings, especially if a chatbot, app, or a website can be deployed.”—Xiomara Lorenzo, Director, Society of Grownups (YPulse)

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies