Sep 29, 2022 - Economy

Gen Z's favorite brands, revealed

Share of Gen. Z adults who say they have a favorable opinion of brands
Data: Morning Consult; Note: Gen Z adults defined as ages 18-25; MOE ±1 percentage point for all adults, ±2 for Gen Z; Chart: Madison Dong/Axios Visuals

The youngest generation of adults is so crazy for tech companies that YouTube, Google, Netflix and Amazon are their four favorite corporate brands, a new Morning Consult survey finds.

  • Gen Z also loves junk food and mass retail: The other brands in their top 10 are M&Ms, Doritos, KitKat and Oreo, plus Amazon, Walmart and Target.
  • Two new-ish brands they're wild about? Discord, a chat app popular with gamers, and Shein, a Chinese fast-fashion company.

Why it matters: People ages 18-25 have increasing societal clout and spending power, but their tastes don't always conform to those of their elders — particularly millennials, with whom they're often lumped in.

  • Compared with millennials, they're much more likely to favor Discord, TikTok, Crocs, Snapchat and Shein.
  • Brands they're more keen on than the general public include Trolli (the purveyors of sour gummy worms), Twitch (the game-streaming platform) and Fenty Beauty (Rihanna's brand).

Driving the news: Morning Consult's poll — conducted May 1-Aug. 21, with about 16,000 adults weighing in on each brand — found that Gen Z's tastes tilt most heavily toward tech, social media and gaming companies, as well as food and beverage brands.

  • 86% of Gen Z adults have a "somewhat'" or "very" favorable opinion of YouTube, making it their most-liked brand.
  • Among the brands that Gen Z likes better than the general public, six of the top 20 are gaming-related.
  • Chow, chow, chow: Some of Gen Zers' highest-ranked brands are Cheetos, Sprite and Skittles.

Gender breakdown: Gen Z women have a more favorable view of social media brands than Gen Z men, with 77% looking favorably on TikTok versus 58% of men.

  • Gen Z women also have a more favorable opinion of Pinterest (+22 percentage points), Snapchat (+11), Facebook (+8) and Instagram (+6).
  • Twitter is the only major social media platform that outperforms with Gen Z men (+7).

Yes, but: Gen Zers are harder to please than millennials and older consumers, consistently giving lower marks to corporate America in general, Morning Consult found.

  • This dovetails with the company's finding that Gen Z takes a more negative view of capitalism, said Jordan Marlatt, a tech analyst at Morning Consult.
  • "They're a very political generation," observed Marlatt, noting that Gen Z's attitudes toward climate change and political polarization are likely at play.

Between the lines: The youngest Gen Zers are still in their teens — and weren't included in this survey — and the generation's tastes are still emerging and evolving.

  • For example, LinkedIn is becoming more popular with Gen Z adults as they enter the workforce, Marlatt said.
  • And the cohort's embrace of TikTok could be politically important, as U.S. officials struggle to regulate the Chinese-owned video app.

What's next: Expect Gen Z's tastes to continue to mature — and to keep diverging from those of millennials and Gen Xers.

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