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Consumer Research

Top Ranked Brands by Millennials & Gen Z in 2018

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TLL recaps the latest research on Millennials versus Gen Z, covering top-ranked brands, retailers, and dream employers from Moosylvania, Ypulse, Condé Nast, and Comparably.

Favorite Brands

Moosylvania, a leading branding and digital agency, released its list of top brands according to Millennials aged 18–38 (born between 1980 and 2000). The firm based its list on 3,000 mobile-based write-in responses. Top brands from the previous year remained on top—Nike, Apple, Amazon, and Target.

Surprisingly, Walmart moved up to number five. New additions included ULTA cosmetics, ELF cosmetics, Torrid apparel, Uniqlo apparel, Zara apparel and Wegman’s stores. The best-performing brands focus on inspiring lifestyle and creating participation, leveraging consumers’ need to belong in a community. The top 15 out of 100 brands are:

  1. Nike
  2. Apple
  3. Amazon
  4. Target
  5. Walmart
  6. Samsung
  7. Google
  8. Sony
  9. Jordan
  10. Adidas
  11. Coca-Cola
  12. Gucci
  13. Chevrolet
  14. Honda & Starbucks (tied)

Ypulse, a New York-based youth marketing firm, interviewed 8,494 Gen Z consumers aged under 21 (born after 1997) on 332 brands this year for its annual survey. The firm ranked those brands based on consumers’ awareness, past purchase, and loyalty, as well as their perceived personality and influence.

The Ypulse survey found that the Gen Z cohort prefers brands that are healthy, socially-conscious, and connected with influencers on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat. Here’s the top 15 out of 100 brands:

  1. YouTube
  2. Doritos
  3. Oreos
  4. Netflix
  5. Hershey’s
  6. M&M’s
  7. Cheetos
  8. Nike
  9. Sour Patch Kids
  10. McDonald’s
  11. Amazon
  12. Google
  13. Apple
  14. Kraft Mac & Cheese
  15. Gatorade

Favorite Retailers

Millennial and Gen Z shoppers aged 13–34 (born between 2005 and 1984) value a unique brand experience—both in-store and online—as well as inclusivity, authenticity, and personalization at every touchpoint. This is according to The Love List: 2018 Brand Affinity Index from Condé Nast in partnership with Goldman Sachs, which surveyed 1,489 U.S. consumers nationally and an additional sample of 1,174 Condé Nast “It Girls,” defined as those who engage frequently with one or more Condé Nast brands.

The survey identified top retailers across several fashion, retail, luxury and beauty categories, ranked here:

  1. Victoria’s Secret, Lingerie
  2. Sephora, Beauty Retail
  3. Nike, Athletic
  4. Ulta, Beauty Retail
  5. Nordstrom, Luxury
  6. Kate Spade, Handbags
  7. Michael Kors, Handbags
  8. Adidas, Athletic
  9. Gucci, Luxury
  10. Coach, Handbags
  11. Lululemon, Athletic
  12. Target, Haircare
  13. Chanel, Fragrance
  14. Urban Decay, Beauty Retail
  15. Neutrogena, Skincare
  16. Macy’s, Fragrance
  17. DSW, Shoe Retail
  18. Louis Vuitton, Luxury
  19. Steve Madden, Shoe Retail
  20. Marc Jacobs, Fragrance
  21. MAC, Beauty Retail
  22. Walmart, Beauty Retail
  23. Clinique, Skincare
  24. Aerie, Lingerie
  25. Forever 21, Clothing Retail

Upcoming brands that these young consumers adopted over the past year included Fenty Beauty, Glossier, and Colour Pop as well as Adidas, Tarte, and Victoria’s Secret. On the mobile app side, the top three brands were Amazon, Snapchat, and Instagram.

Favorite Employers

Career data site Comparably surveyed 23,000 employees between the ages of 18 to 35 on their dream workplace. While Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Uber, and Facebook featured predominantly across all age groups, Gen Z workers aged 18–25 (born between 1993 and 2000) named Snap as a top 10 company. Millennials aged 26–35 (b. 1992–1983) instead picked Netflix as a top 10 company.


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