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

“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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