THE TOP 20 BRANDS GEN Z & MILLENNIALS TELL THEIR FRIENDS ABOUT

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: “Retail should be a facilitator for experience, rather than just selling product.”—Sharmandean Reid, Founder, Wah Nails London (YPulse)

Millennials seeking portable booze are cracking open canned wine. Even though the category still only accounts for less than 1% of the Millennial-favorite alcoholic beverages’ market, Nielsen reports it spiked 69% last year and continues to gain ground. An exec at Delicato Family Wines explains, “Millennials have grown up in a world where consuming wine outdoors—or any location outside of the traditional table—is more acceptable than generations past.” (Wine Spectator)

Summer camps are cropping up to teach kids how to become YouTubers. At I-D Tech Camps, Level Up, and Star Camps, kids can learn all about how to, as the latter puts it, “Become an Internet sensation.” They offer courses in how to create and post videos, from shooting clips to editing audio, and how to build their personal brand. But don’t worry, most are framing YouTubing as a hobby, not a career, and setting kids’ expectations accordingly. (WSJ)

A new bill could change the free-to-play profit model that’s made games like Fortnite top earners. Senators have proposed the official ban of “loot boxes,” or items that players can buy (and sometimes must buy) to win a video game, often gambling on what’s inside. Senator Ed Markey explains that “Inherently manipulative game features that take advantage of kids and turn play time into pay time should be out of bounds.” For some, this will eliminate a key revenue stream and open the door to review other in-game purchases.  (The Verge)

A social media overhaul upped Corn Nuts’ sales by 12%—with no paid support.The snack’s sales were stagnant before a new exec took over their Twitter, infusing it with the personable tone food brands have become known for (and sometimes notorious for). Since then, followers spiked from 650 to 21,000, and what they’re calling a “scrappy” strategy “absolutely translated to sales,” reporting that retail sales spiked 12% and Millennials’ repeat purchases rose the same percentage. (Marketing Dive)

The retail apocalypse continues, with 7,000 more stores closing their doors in 2019. CoStar Group estimates that the square footage of retail space closed has topped its own record each year since 2017, and this year they’re “predicting more of the same.” PayLess ShoeSource, Gymboree, Dressbarn, and Charlotte Russe lead the list of number stores planned to shutter this year, as retailers learn to scale down size and up Experiencification for young shoppers. (Business Insider

Quote of the Day: “It’s a really interesting time at the moment in catalog [music]…Sometimes, it’s a question of how we make something out of nothing.”—Tim Fraser-Harding, President, Global Catalogue, Recorded Music at Warner Music Group (Rolling Stone)

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