The 20 Luxury Brands Millennials & Gen Z Most Want to Own

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We asked 1000 13-34-year-olds to tell us the luxury brand they want to own most, and ranked their top desired products and labels…

Young consumers today have a shifting definition of luxury, and luxury brands are facing an uphill battle with these young consumers, who don’t automatically think a high-end heritage brand is cool because it has a high price tag, and often value travel and experiences over costly jewelry, shoes, and bags. Conspicuous consumption is also less appealing to the young people who came of age during the Great Recession: according to a recent Ypulse monthly survey, 81% of 13-34-year-olds agree “Showing off expensive things you have bought on social media is not cool.” We’ve also found that Millennials and teens are more drawn to the words "High Quality" and "Durable" when purchasing items and are not as impressed when items are described as "Exclusive" or "Luxury."

But last year, more luxury brands began to make changes to products and marketing to focus in on Millennials and Gen Z. Some are turning to new influencers to form relationships with Millennials and Gen Z before they become the core luxury demographic, while others are embracing accessibility or technology to appeal. And while young consumers might not value luxury brands in the same way previous generations did, they’re not necessarily averse to them: only 30% of 13-34-year-olds say their parents care more about owning luxury brands and products than they do, and 46% say they will feel successful in life when they are able to afford luxury brands and products. To see which luxury brands they actually want, we asked 1000 13-34-year-olds, “What is the luxury brand you most want to own?”* Here are the 20 that were mentioned the most:

*These were open-end response questions to allow us to capture the full range of 13-34-year-olds’ most-desired luxury brands. As with any qualitative question, the responses include those that are top of mind and those that are most wanted. The lists are ordered according to number of responses received, and alphabetically when ties occurred. 

What Is the Luxury Brand They Most Want to Own?

13-34-year-olds

  1. Apple
  2. BMW
  3. Tesla
  4. Audi
  5. Mercedes
  6. Michael Kors
  7. Louis Vuitton
  8. Lexus
  9. Gucci
  10. Rolex
  11. Chanel
  12. Coach
  13. Ferrari
  14. Kate Spade
  15. Porsche
  16. Nike
  17. Samsung
  18. Prada
  19. Christian Louboutin
  20. Cadillac

As with so many things, Apple ranks at the top of the list of luxury brands that they would want to own most. “Quality,” “love,” “best,” “technology,” and “design” were all words frequently used in the reasons they picked Apple. One 18-year-old female told us, “They make great beautiful products,” and a 24-year-old male said of the brand, “high quality technology, premium aesthetic, and simple design.” It’s no surprise this top-tech brand ranks above all on the list—of the 55% of 13-34-year-olds who have purchased a luxury product, 23% say it was a tech item, more than any other category.

Interestingly considering Millennials’ reputation for “not caring” about cars, auto brands round out the overall top five list, and make up almost half of the list overall—which also might indicate that this is the category that young consumers associate the word “luxury” with. But not all young consumers are lusting after the same cars: 

Tesla ranks higher on young males’ list, and Audi makes their top five, while not making the top ranking for females. Michael Kors and Louis Vuitton are the two highest ranked fashion brands among young females. Gen Z are slightly less likely than Millennials to name a luxury vehicle brand as the next they want to own, with only two car brands (BMW and Mercedes) making their top five, while three car brands (Tesla, BMW, and Audi) made the top three for 18-34-year-olds.  

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “I actively avoid discussions of TV shows.”—Male, 31, MI

Networks are launching an onslaught of new streaming services to compete with the likes of Netflix and Hulu. CBS, Disney, and now Warner Media are hopping on the bandwagon to compete for young cord-cutters' viewing time. The digital switch makes sense, considering 74% of 13-36-year-olds told Ypulse they watch Netflix weekly, versus 33% who watch cable weekly. But one eMarketer analyst predicts this over-saturation in the streaming wars will lead to “a shakeout," in which companies will be weeded out unless they consolidate their offerings. (THR)

Macy’s is putting virtual reality in 90 stores, with the “largest VR rollout in retail history.” Shoppers can don HTC Vive VR headsets to create 3D floor plans, design their living spaces, deck them out with Macy’s furniture, and then take a step inside of the room. The retail tech enables smaller Macy’s stores to offer a lot more inventory to shoppers, and follows in the footsteps of other reality-bending home décor brands. And, according to Macy’s, VR sales were 60% higher than regular sales in their three pilot stores. (MediaPost)

Prada is plotting a comeback among young consumers. They’ve been slow to adapt to digital, but now the luxury company is emphasizing Instagram and aiming to grow their online sales, which were just 5% in early 2018. While investors applaud Prada’s dive into digital, they also believe the brand needs to shutter several stores—not just to increase “profitability” but to create “the illusion of scarcity.” Prada also has to recover from being late to the luxury streetwear game. (Bloomberg)

Some teens are opting for technical school over four-year universities. At Queens Tech, high schoolers are trained to take on non-desk jobs, like being an electrical engineer or working for public transit companies. Earning a high paycheck that isn’t chipped away by student debt is helping to overcome the societal stigma of skipping college. According to one Queens Tech student, “If you’re a construction worker, you may get paid the same as a doctor, but you don’t look as good.” (Vice)

Don't expect to see macho men and swooning women in grooming brands' latest ads. Instead, companies across the industry are toning down the machismo for Millennial & Gen Z males. Some are blurring gender lines, like Dollar Shave Club, whose “Get Ready” spots debunked stereotypes by not just casting straight, cis males. Other brands are betting modern men are more in touch with their emotions, like Gillette, who shared the touching story of a man’s son becoming an NFL linebacker, despite missing one hand.
(Ad Age)

Quote of the Day: “[Zendaya] is such a beautiful human being and I grew up watching her on the Disney Channel.”—Female, 18, TX

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