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Generation Zs Reveal Their 100 Favorite Brands

Generation Zs reveal their 100 favorite brands

Millennials, move aside. There’s a new generation advertisers are vying to reach: Generation Z.

Gen Zs are people born after 1997, and their short lives have been already been marked by the advent of mobile technology, social upheaval, and the Great Recession.

Ypulse, a New York youth-marketing firm, interviewed 8,494 Gen Z consumers on 332 brands this year for its Ybrands survey. Then the firm ranked those brands based on the consumers’ awareness, past purchase, and loyalty, as well as their perceived personality and influence.

Bobby Calise, vice president of Ybrands, said these brands won over Gen Z because of their ability to convince young adults of their coolness and momentum.

More unique to Gen Z, Calise said, is their preference to buy from brands with expressed stances on social causes.

“In the past, brands might have considered playing it safe for fear of alienating some of its customer base,” Calise told Business Insider. “But in today’s social and political climate, it’s arguably riskier not to take a risk — even if it’s a calculated one — when it comes to brands taking stands.”

Ypulse shared the final ranking with Business Insider. Here are the top 100 brands that Gen Z adore:

100. KFC
100. KFC
Why it’s popular: KFC launched a plan in 2015 to boost quality across its US restaurants — revamping the menu, retraining employees, and remodeling. That venture focused not on making KFC a health food magnate, but on its core business of quality fried chicken.

99. Jif

99. Jif
Why it’s popular: While there are plenty of new competitors in the peanut-butter market, Jif still has the largest brand share. It also has created new snacks and teamed up with Hilary Duff on its natural peanut-butter line.

98. Buffalo Wild Wings

98. Buffalo Wild Wings
Why it’s popular: While millennials and Gen Zs alike don’t frequent fast-casual chains, Buffalo Wild Wings has a different take on dining out by allowing patrons to customize their meal with different sauces.

97. Toaster Strudel

97. Toaster Strudel
Why it’s popular: Pillsbury Toaster Strudel has long been popular as a convenient breakfast choice. The company also recently launched Toaster Scrambles as a high-protein savory option.

96. Hi-C

96. Hi-C
Why it’s popular: According to YPulse, Hi-C has near-universal brand awareness among Gen Z, and more than half of them have bought it in the past.

95. EOS

95. EOS
Why it’s popular: Founded in 2009, EOS has become a popular brand among younger clientele in part thanks to its strategy of targeting influencers and celebrities rather than going with traditional publicity routes.

94. Panera Bread

94. Panera Bread
Why it’s popular: Panera has become popular among Gen Z for its “fresh and customizable options.” It also has shifted its focus in recent years to off-site business, with a delivery option that’s “dominating” fast casual.

93. Microsoft

93. Microsoft
Why it’s popular: While Microsoft has been outshined by Apple and Samsung when it comes to cellphones and computers, YPulse said nearly half of Gen Zs have bought a Microsoft product. And 44% of Gen Zs said Microsoft is “innovative.”

92. Dick’s Sporting Goods

92. Dick's Sporting Goods
Why it’s popular: Athleisure brands like Nike and Adidas dominate teens’ apparel preferences. Dick’s established that it could share values with socially minded Gen Z when it announced it would no longer be selling AR-15 assault rifles earlier this year.

91. Planters

91. Planters
Why it’s popular: Gen Zs prefer healthy choices, and Planters is the top brand for snacking nuts — a category that includes almonds, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, and pecans.

90. Hulu

90. Hulu
Why it’s popular: Streaming options are becoming increasingly common among Gen Zs; only 2% told Business Insider that they rely on cable for most of their television watching. While Netflix remains more popular overall, Hulu has original programming like “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “All Night.”

89. Sephora

89. Sephora
Why it’s popular: Gen Z women spend more on beauty than apparel, according to Piper Jaffray’s semiannual survey. While teen spending is overall up 2% year-over-year in 2018, beauty spending jumped 18%. Sephora was the top beauty destination.

88. Degree

88. Degree
Why it’s popular: Degree, which was already a leading brand in deodorant among all age sectors, is part of a new advertising push that celebrates diverse cultures, music, and dance.

87. Twitter

87. Twitter
Why it’s popular: In 2016, Business Insider found that today’s teens actually like Twitter more than their millennial or Gen X cohorts. “I get to talk to my friends and see interesting things about shows or bands I like, or see funny memes,” one 14-year-old told Business Insider.

86. Hot Topic

86. Hot Topic
Why it’s popular: It might seem like a relic of the 1990s, but Hot Topic has maintained popularity with the younger crowd as fashion trends become more gothic and punk. Hot Topic stocks plenty of plaid, band tees, and other gear evocative of the ’90s.

85. Clean & Clear

85. Clean & Clear
Why it’s popular: While trendier skincare options like Mario Badescu and COSRX have moved into the market, Clean & Clear remains beloved by those suffering from acne or breakouts.

84. Kohl’s

84. Kohl's
Why it’s popular: While many big-box retailers have suffered in recent years as shopping increasingly shifts online, Kohl’s have reported steady sales bumps. Kohl’s also features discount options, which is especially appealing for frugal Gen Zs.

83. Butterfinger

83. Butterfinger
Why it’s popular: Butterfinger is one of the top-selling candy bars across all age sectors, including Gen Z. Nearly 60% of Gen Zs have bought a Butterfinger and almost half said they’d buy it again.

82. American Eagle Outfitters

82. American Eagle Outfitters
Why it’s popular: American Eagle has especially benefitted in recent years from its lingerie brand, Aerie. Aerie is on track to be a $1 billion business on its own. Much of Aerie’s success stems from a social brand of female empowerment, as it doesn’t retouch its ads and partners with influencers involved in activism.

81. Sonic Drive-In

81. Sonic Drive-In
Why it’s popular: Sonic recently revamped its marketing strategy, menus, and mobile-ordering functions, and is experiencing bumps in its same-store sales.

80. Samsung

80. Samsung
Why it’s popular: The vast majority of teens report that they have an iPhone or want one as their next phone. But Samsung is still one of the most talked-about brands online by teens, thanks in part to its partnership with Instagram and YouTube influencers.

79. Burger King

79. Burger King
Why it’s popular: Analysts say Burger King is winning over Gen Z with food mash-ups — including its Mac n’ Cheetos snack item, a deep-fried concoction of mac ‘n’ cheese covered in Cheetos dust.

78. Trident

78. Trident
Why it’s popular: Trident has the largest brand share of any chewing-gum company in the US across age groups. Trident has maintained its relevancy by coming up with new gum shapes, flavors, and packaging.

77. The North Face

77. The North Face
Why it’s popular: The outdoor company has a focus on socially responsible marketing strategies that emphasize its investment in women’s empowerment, environmentalism, and other causes that Gen Zs care about.

76. Nesquik

76. Nesquik
Why it’s popular: Nesquick, which launched in 1948, might seem a bit too old school for Gen Zs, but 57% of them said they’ve purchased it. Nesquick has been involved in innovative marketing strategies, such as their recent Milk Stop pop-up in Santa Monica.

75. Maybelline

75. Maybelline
Why it’s popular: Maybelline is skilled at racking up social engagement through collaborations with influencers like Gigi Hadid and educational posts.

74. Domino’s Pizza

74. Domino's Pizza
Why it’s popular: Along with a strategy that revamped the quality of its pizza, Domino’s has a splashy marketing team — from allowing people to order with emojis to self-driving pizza-delivery cars to paving potholes across America.

73. Ulta
73. Ulta
Why it’s popular: Gen Z women spend more on beauty than apparel. While Sephora has been the longtime standby for beauty products, Ulta offers a larger variety of products, including drugstore wares and high-end products.

72. Beats by Dre
72. Beats by Dre
Why it’s popular: Beats by Dre relies heavily on celebrity marketing, with partnerships via Pharrell, Nicki Minaj, and obviously Dr. Dre. Such endorsements especially important for reaching Gen Z, who look to social media and influencers for advice on what to buy.

71. Spotify

71. Spotify
Why it’s popular: A Business Insider survey of Gen Zs found that 60% of teens pick Spotify as their most used music app. They said they like Spotify for its playlists, freemium model, and huge selection of music.

70. Honey Nut Cheerios

70. Honey Nut Cheerios
Why it’s popular: Honey Nut Cheerios has launched a variety of unusual marketing strategies that pick up on Gen Z’s hobbies and interests. The General Mills brand was the first to have a sponsored series with gaming publication Kotaku and, way back when, it got in on the Grumpy Cat meme.

69. E.L.F. Cosmetics

69. E.L.F. Cosmetics
Why it’s popular: Like many brands that are popular among Gen Zs, E.L.F. has a dedicated strategy to build its following among social-media influencers. But unlike the obvious route of trying to accumulate as many followers as possible, E.L.F. built a sizable yet dedicated online community by creating relationships with “microinfluencers.”

68. Powerade

68. Powerade
Why it’s popular: Gen Zs prefer drinks that brand themselves as “good for you,” particularly ones that are “vitamin-enhanced” or performance-boosting.

67. Slim Jim

67. Slim Jim
Why it’s popular: The jerky brand doesn’t seem like the most obvious choice for health-conscious Gen Zs, but Slim Jims have been going upscale. You can now buy Slim Jims made from grass-fed beef or in flavors like Thai Style Chili.

66. Old Spice

66. Old Spice
Why it’s popular: Old Spice has captured the online space with wacky, viral commercials.

65. Dr Pepper

65. Dr Pepper
Why it’s popular: While some of Dr Pepper’s marketing moves have been controversial, the brand also developed universally appealing campaigns, like individualized soda labels. Nearly two-thirds of Gen Zs have purchased Dr Pepper.

64. Levi’s

64. Levi's
Why it’s popular: Levi’s has embarked on innovations like stretchier, athleisure-esque pants, while also maintaining its heritage brand through standby products.

63. Marvel

63. Marvel
Why it’s popular: Marvel has been generating billions on its superhero movies like “The Avengers.” It especially appealed to Gen Z — the most diverse generation in US history — with the afro-futuristic “Black Panther,” which has been one of the highest-grossing films of all time.

62. Sprite

62. Sprite
Why it’s popular: Sprite has been able to capture youth attention with Snapchat campaigns and is constantly tinkering with its artificial and real sugar content to appeal to health trends.

61. Heinz Ketchup

61. Heinz Ketchup
Why it’s popular: The stand-by ketchup brand continues to dominate brand share through innovating with new packaging and social-media engagement.

60. Totino’s

60. Totino's
Why it’s popular: Totino’s has established irreverent brand messaging through partnering with comedians like Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim.

59. DiGiorno

59. DiGiorno
Why it’s popular: From enlisting facial-recognition software and social psychology to prove how happy pizza can make you to featuring YouTube celebrities in its advertisements, DiGiorno has been creative in how it reaches new audiences.

58. Pillsbury

58. Pillsbury
Why it’s popular: The ubiquitous food brand has targeted products like Pizza Pops for a teen audience. Nearly two-thirds of Gen Z have bought Pillsbury products, and half say it has a bright future.

57. Old Navy

57. Old Navy
Why it’s popular: Old Navy has produced a slew of smart, sponsored videos, like the My Squad Contest. That gave Gen Zs the chance to compete to meet their favorite internet celebrities while wearing Old Navy apparel, naturally.

56. Jordan

56. Jordan
Why it’s popular: Sneakers have become increasingly popular among Gen Zs, particularly ones backed by major celebrity endorsements. Nike’s Jordan brand is also highly innovative on social media; it was one of the first to release major news through Instagram Stories.

55. Hot Pockets

55. Hot Pockets
Why it’s popular: The brand targets men age 18 to 34 (the oldest Gen Zs are now 21) with ad campaigns that focus on gaming, music, and sports, and partners with influential online gamers.

54. Kool-Aid

54. Kool-Aid
Why it’s popular: The 91-year-old brand has maintained popularity through a variety of youth-marketing campaigns. Kool-Aid has several Snapchat filters designed to promote new products, a GIF keyboard, and partnerships with YouTube celebrities.

53. Eggo

53. Eggo
Why it’s popular: When Netflix original show “Stranger Things” started featuring Eggo in 2016, the waffle brand seized on the opportunity with creativity. It made Halloween costumes referencing “Stranger Things,” created new recipes based off the show, and even created a Google Chrome extension.

52. Ben & Jerry’s

52. Ben & Jerry's
Why it’s popular: The ice-cream brand is particularly appealing to Gen Z as Ben and Jerry’s bases its brand around social activism. Its YouTube channel, for instance, features videos discussing climate change and how the company sources its ingredients and materials responsibly.

51. Pizza Hut

51. Pizza Hut
Why it’s popular: Earlier this year, Pizza Hut announced that it would now deliver beer along with its pizza, a move that its chief brand officer said was made to appeal to Gen Z college students.

50. Pepsi

50. Pepsi
Why it’s popular: While it had a variety of marketing failures, like the 2017 Super Bowl ad in which Kendall Jenner handed a Pepsi to a police officer during a protest, Pepsi has had success with its new, nostalgia-focused campaign around music.

49. Dunkin’ Donuts

49. Dunkin' Donuts
Why it’s popular: Dunkin’ Donuts has a GIF keyboard, partnerships with social-media influences like Logan Paul, and has mimicked viral food videos in presenting the Dunkin’ Donuts test kitchen over Facebook Live.

48. Mountain Dew

48. Mountain Dew
Why it’s popular: Gen Zs love Mountain Dew’s zany ad strategy, like the Puppymonkeybaby Super Bowl ad. Humor is especially key to attract advertisement-inundated Gen Zs.

47. Covergirl

47. Covergirl
Why it’s popular: Covergirl has rebuilt its marketing strategy around an “authentically diverse” slew of new Covergirls, including Ayesha Curry, Issa Rae, and and Katy Perry. That seems to have appealed to socially conscious Gen Zs.

46. Converse

46. Converse
Why it’s popular: Converse’s VP chief marketing officer previously told Business Insider that Converse’s marketing strategy revolves around maintaining its iconic brand and, rather than recruiting big-name influencers, partnering with smaller stars anchored and important to their community.”

45. Nintendo

45. Nintendo
Why it’s popular: The Nintendo Switch was a runaway success last year, following on the popularity of Pokemon Go.

44. Walmart

44. Walmart
Why it’s popular: Nearly two-thirds of Gen Zs enjoy shopping at a brick-and-mortar store, and Walmart has remained a mainstay in most American communities. But Walmart has also been innovative in capturing Gen Z; it recently announced an in-house basics brand meant to challenge Everlane.

43. Vans
43. Vans
Why it’s popular: Vans has benefited from Gen Z’s obsession with ’90s streetwear styles and the resurgence of sneaker culture.

42. Dairy Queen

42. Dairy Queen
Why it’s popular: Dairy Queen has recaptured its market by offering cheaper meal deals, boosting the quality of its famous Blizzard, and releasing humorous Valentine’s Day ads.

41. Lunchables

41. Lunchables
Why it’s popular: Typically an elementary-school standby, Lunchables has been making moves into the teen market by making lunch combinations that are more suited for an adolescent palette. That includes larger portions and meals like sub sandwiches and bacon-topped pizzas.

40. Dove

40. Dove
Why it’s popular: Dove, whose brand messaging often addresses societal beauty standards, recently produced new campaigns on the unique struggles faced by adolescent girls.

39. Facebook

39. Facebook
Why it’s popular: While few teens say Facebook is their social media of choice, many still use it for the Messenger app and to stay connected with friends and older users.

38. Hostess

38. Hostess
Why it’s popular: While Hostess has had a bumpy few years, the chief marketing officer said the company has had success creating a dialogue on social-media platforms and by modernizing its packaging.

37. Capri Sun

37. Capri Sun
Why it’s popular: Capri Sun has appealed to health-conscious Gen Zs by introducing an organic drinks line and partnering with celebrities like John Legend.

36. Target

36. Target
Why it’s popular: Target has recently doubled down on Gen Z consumers, with the introduction of a men’s street-style clothing line, a brand that sells headphones and phone cases, and a low-priced women’s-clothing brand.

35. Tostitos

35. Tostitos
Why it’s popular: Tostitos made waves with a new ad that encouraged people to hang out more together in real life and positioned itself as the chip of choice for get-togethers.

34. Wendy’s

34. Wendy's
Why it’s popular: Wendy’s has focused on digital marketing and creating healthy premium food items, distancing itself from the reputation that fast food is unhealthy.

33. Starbucks

33. Starbucks
Why it’s popular: From classic coffee to pumpkin-spice lattes to millennial pink tea, Starbucks has been a mainstay of the coffee industry since most Gen Zs were born.

32. Breyers

32. Breyers

Why it’s popular: Breyers’ brand manager said the company has appealed to younger customers by aligning the brand with values like environmental sustainability and by connecting with influencers.

31. Adidas

31. Adidas
Why it’s popular: Gen Zs are in love with Adidas’ street-style aesthetic. Its Stan Smith line cemented Adidas’ ranking as one of Gen Z’s favorite sneaker brands.

30. Under Armour

30. Under Armour
Why it’s popular: Under Armour has succeeded in positioning itself as the brand of underdogs, while also recruiting celebrity sponsorships from those like Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen.

29. Coca-Cola

29. Coca-Cola
Why it’s popular: The top soda company by brand share, Coca-Cola has appealed to Gen Zs with its “Share a Coke” campaign and endorsements from Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift.

28. Chick-fil-A

28. Chick-fil-A
Why it’s popular: Gen Zs deemed Chick-fil-A the “coolest” fast-food company in a Think with Google study. It’s the restaurant of choice among upper-income teens, and second for average-income teens.

27. Snapchat

27. Snapchat
Why it’s popular: Forty-five percent of teens say Snapchat is their social-media platform of choice, though they’ve been moving away from the app to Instagram recently.

26. Chips Ahoy

26. Chips Ahoy
Why it’s popular: Chips Ahoy is third in cookie industry market share among all age groups, but it’s second for Gen Zs. Ypulse said 80% of Gen Zs have bought Chips Ahoy, and 71% said they intend on buying it again.

25. Subway

25. Subway
Why it’s popular: Subway, which has a reputation as a healthy chain restaurant, has delivered a variety of innovative ad campaigns.

24. Kit Kat

24. Kit Kat
Why it’s popular: Kit Kat engages with other companies to undertake creative ways to spread its brand, including the launch of Android operating system Android Kit Kat.

23. Instagram

23. Instagram
Why it’s popular: Instagram has been slowly drawing more teen users away from Snapchat by implementing a version of Snapchat’s Stories feature.

22. Little Debbie

22. Little Debbie
Why it’s popular: Little Debbie has maintained its reputation as a low-cost snack choice, which is appealing for frugal Gen Z. The brand also has a beloved social-media presence.

21. Bath & Body Works

21. Bath & Body Works
Why it’s popular: The shopping-mall mainstay may seem like an unusual choice for online-savvy Gen Zs, but the brand has continued to flourish by diversifying its offerings and maintaining a high-quality in-store experience.

20. Goldfish

20. Goldfish
Why it’s popular: Goldfish has managed to appeal to two causes Gen Z cares strongly about: LGBT rights and organic food.

19. Snickers

19. Snickers
Why it’s popular: Snickers’ new marketing strategy has targeted all people rather than the male audience it formerly focused on. Ypulse said 80% of Gen Zs have bought Snickers, and 63% of Gen Zs said it is “popular.”

18. Axe

18. Axe
Why it’s popular: Axe has been accused of being unabashedly chauvinistic, but now its ad strategy appeals to social conscious Gen Z by tackling issues like toxic masculinity and how sexism hurts men.

17. Taco Bell

17. Taco Bell
Why it’s popular: Taco Bell’s social-media presence has been a runaway success for appealing to Gen Z, but it has also appealed to adolescent clientele with its “fourth meal” campaign on eating out late and by introducing discount options.

16. Pop-Tarts

16. Pop-Tarts
Why it’s popular:Pop-Tarts focuses not on reaching as many folks as possible in its messaging, but listening to their customers and reaching the right, highly engaged group.

15. Gatorade

15. Gatorade
Why it’s popular: Gatorade is the top brand in sports drinks by share, and its target clientele is young athletes with strong online influence.

14. Kraft Mac & Cheese

14. Kraft Mac & Cheese
Why it’s popular: Kraft Mac & Cheese has a legacy as a childhood favorite, and it removed all synthetic colors and preservatives in 2015.

13. Apple

13. Apple
Why it’s popular: Apple is by far Gen Z’s favorite tech brand. In a Business Insider survey, 94% of teens said they had an iPhone.

12. Google

12. Google
Why it’s popular: Google remains the mainstay for search engine needs, and Gen Zs grew up relying on Google for information.

11. Amazon

11. Amazon
Why it’s popular: Amazon is the e-commerce website of choice in the US, and Gen Zs also likely grew up ordering just about everything from it.

10. McDonald’s

10. McDonald's
Why it’s popular: McDonald’s has relied on its core brand to boost sales, like offering all-day breakfast, while doubling down on fresh beef, freshly cracked eggs, and the like.

9. Sour Patch Kids

9. Sour Patch Kids
Why it’s popular: A marketing director at Sour Patch Kids wrote that the company boosted the brand by lessening its involvement in TV and Facebook marketing, and going in on making the Sour Patch Kid himself a celebrity on Snapchat and YouTube.

8. Nike

8. Nike
Why it’s popular: Nike has long been the top sneaker company in the US, and it may have solidified Gen Z’s interest even further by aligning itself with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the national anthem last football season to protest racial injustice.

7. Cheetos

7. Cheetos
Why it’s popular: Cheetos has capitalized on food mashups— for example, Taco Bell’s Cheetos Burritos and Mac n’ Cheetos and Cheetos Chicken Fries at Burger King.

6. M&M’s

6. M&M's
Why it’s popular: M&Ms has high social-media engagement and works with top influencers like Emma Roberts.

5. Hershey’s

5. Hershey's
Why it’s popular: Hershey’s has pivoted to snacking options while working with Facebook to roll out creative ways to announce new products.

4. Netflix

4. Netflix
Why it’s popular: Streaming options like Netflix are how Gen Zs watch television, as there are no commercials, you can binge-watch, and there’s a greater variety of options.

3. Oreo

3. Oreo
Why it’s popular: Oreo’s is often driving the conversation by introducing weird new flavors and shocking consumers, like Swedish Fish, Banana Split Creme, Candy Corn, and Watermelon.

2. Doritos

2. Doritos
Why it’s popular: One of “the most successful snack foods ever,” Doritos continues to appeal to Gen Zs with its perfectly engineered taste.

1. YouTube

1. YouTube
Why it’s popular: Nearly a third of teens watch YouTube more than Netflix, Hulu, or cable. “The content on YouTube is so much more diverse and funny and relatable,” one 16-year-old told Business Insider. “The stuff on TV is so outdated. I would watch Netflix, but I don’t have the money to sign up.”

 

Source; Business Insider

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