What brands are Gen Z and Millennials recommending to others? Our youth brand tracker has the answers…

When we ask young consumers what influences the products they buy, recommendations from their friends and family are always at the top of the list. In our recent back to school survey, they told us recommendations from their friends and family were the top thing influencing their purchases. Our TV and entertainment survey found that’s the top way they hear about new shows. Millennial parents say it’s a top influencer on the products they buy for their children (only after requests from the kids themselves). What’s the top influence over the health and beauty products that young consumers buy? You guessed it: if their friends buy or recommend it. You get the point. For these generations, word of mouth is vital in choosing what to buy—they trust their friends over marketing, and tell us that when deciding what to buy, reviews and recommendations they find online or hear from their friends and family are more valuable to them than information given to them by the company, expert opinions, or any form of ad.

So becoming one of the brands that they’ll actually recommend to the people they know can have a powerful impact—and our youth brand tracker keeps tabs on exactly what brands they’re most likely to recommend to others right now. Our youth brand tracker Ybrands, which launched in January of this year, has collected over 54,000 interviews that tell us how young consumers feel about more than 300 brands—and these are the top 20 they are telling their friends about:

*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 Influence” metric, we also ask respondents “Which of the following have you previously RECOMMENDED to others?” These are the top brands that were rated as recommended 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 10/23. Rankings are subject to change as more brands are added and removed. 

Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube top the list of the 20 brands that Gen Z and Millennials are recommending to others. Netflix’s top ranking reinforces the amount of clout the media brand has with young consumers—it also made the number two spot on our list of brands young consumers think are cool right now (beating out Apple, and all social media platforms).

In addition, Netflix ranked highly among all age groups, showing that Gen Z as well as younger and older Millennials are all spreading the word about their love for the brand:

While 13-17-year-olds were most likely to say they have recommended YouTube, Netflix still landed at number two on their list, and topped the list for both 18-24-year-olds and 25-36-year-olds. Amazon beat out major retailers Target and Walmart in the rankings among all age groups, once again proving just how much young shoppers love the mega-retail site.

And if you’re wondering why so many indulgent treats are on the top recommended brands list for young consumers, just remember they’re a healthy-ish group who likes to treat themselves—and apparently tell their friends to treat themselves too.

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “Supernatural is a guilty pleasure show.  While it isn't very consistent in terms of plotline, it’s a fun show with a lovable cast, and it’s ludicrous story keeps you wondering what is next.”—Female, 26, GA

Millennial women are taking over proposing, and looking up ways to pop the question. On Pinterest, “women propose to men ideas” is being searched more than ever, with popularity of the term rising 336% year-over-year. And women aren’t just getting down on one knee to propose to men: the term with the greatest growth from 2017 is “unique lesbian proposals,” which saw a 1,352% rise. Pinterest also found that emerald engagement rings are trending, demonstrating Millennials’ growing interest in non-diamond options. (The Cut)

Dave & Buster’s is positioned to win over experience-loving Millennials. Despite disappointing earnings of late, investors are buying up the experiential restaurant’s stock during its dip because (as one analyst explains) they “believe [Dave & Buster's] can outperform other full-service concepts and drive multiple expansion as it proves itself as a differentiated growth concept.”  Our Experiencification trend backs up their bet, finding that 74% of Gen Z & Millennials would rather spend money on experiences than products. (TheStreet)

Airlines made for Millennials are failing. Air France is thinking about shuttering Joon, their trendy airline, just one year after it took flight. As it turns out, Generation Wanderlust values one thing above amenities like stylish steward outfits and smart tech: value itself. The airlines that are seeing success are budget-friendly first and foremost, like Norwegian Air. ICF Aviation’s SVP sums it up, “What does a [M]illennial want in an airline? A low fare and a good schedule…They don’t want more purple lighting.” (Vox)

Fortnite isn’t just “the most important game of 2018"—it’s “a cultural tsunami.” Nearly 80 million people played the battle royale-style game that’s taking over the internet this year, and over 65% of Fortnite’s players are under-24-years-old. If that’s not enough evidence that brands should cashing in on the craze, celebrities like Drake are playing the game and sports stars like Antoine Griezmann are doing Fortnite’s signature emote dances on the field. (CNET)

Media companies could be under-estimating Nickelodeon’s young fandom. Nielsen reports that two-11-year-olds spent 23 hours each week watching TV in the second quarter of 2018, with almost 15 of those hours taken up by live TV or DVR-recorded content. While Nickelodeon ratings may be down, they’re still the leader of kids’ networks, accounting for 67% of all ad-supported kids’ TV viewing. However, 74% of Millennial parents tell Ypulse that their children watch more content on streaming services than cable. (Bloomberg)

Quote of the Day: “I like playing and talking about [Animal Crossing] with other people. It's nostalgic for me since I've been playing games from the series from a young age.”—Female, 22, PA

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