These Are Gen Z’s Favorite Brands in 2022

October 12, 2022

Gen Z adults (ages 18-25) are harder to please than the average adult, holding lower brand favorability ratings across the board than the adult population at large, according to a new study [download page] from Morning Consult. Still, some brands are doing a great job, and the report breaks down which ones are the most popular with this young cohort.

In order to arrive at its conclusions, Morning Consult looked at the share of Gen Z adults who have either a “somewhat” or “very” favorable opinion of each brand.

The results show that YouTube is the most popular brand with Gen Zers this year, with more than 86% having a favorable opinion of the brand. YouTube is the most widely used social media brand in the US, with virtually all (95%) 18-29-year-olds watching videos on the platform.

Following YouTube in the popularity sweepstakes is its parent brand Google, which almost 84% of Gen Zers have a favorable opinion of. Google sits ahead of Netflix (82.2%), demonstrating the popularity of video platforms, particularly with youth. (Other research has found that YouTube and Netflix combine for the majority of teens’ estimated daily video viewing time.)

Rounding out the top 5 most popular brands among teens are Amazon (80.3%) and M&M’s (79.8%).

Interestingly, while one might think that social media brands would feature heavily in the top 10, snack brands such as M&M’s (#5), Doritos (#8), KitKat (#9) and Oreo (#10) are more heavily represented. Likewise retail brands feature prominently; aside from Amazon at #4, the top 10 includes Walmart at #6 and Target at #7.

Standout Brands

Certain brands stand out as being far more popular among Gen Zers than the adult population at-large, and it’s here that social media makes its mark.

The top standout brand is TikTok: 68.7% of Gen Zers have a favorable opinion of the social media platform, compared to 38.62% of adults overall. The favorability difference of 30.08% points is the largest of any brand measured.

Instant messaging social platform Discord is the next standout brand, with a 28.66% point difference in favorability between Gen Z (50.04%) and the US adult average (21.38%).

It’s closely followed in the standout rankings by Snapchat (+28.47% points), which is favored by almost twice the share of Gen Zers (63.69%) as US adults overall (35.22%).

In at number 4 in the standout rankings is another social media platform, Instagram, favored by 73.2% of Gen Zers against fewer than half (48.35%) of US adults in general, for a difference of 24.85% points.

As such, each of the top 4 standouts are social media platforms, with Cash App coming in at #5.

It’s worth noting that, per the analysis, social media brands tend to have higher favorability ratings among Gen Z women than men. That’s particularly the case for Pinterest (+22% points) and TikTok (+19% points), but is also true for Snapchat (+11), Facebook (+8) and Instagram (+6). The report’s authors note that Twitter is the only major social media platform that has a higher favorability rating among Gen Z men than women.

Other Highlights:

  • Gen Z’s average favorability rating across measured brands is just 27%, compared to 33% for adults overall and 36% for Millennials. This brings to mind other research which has found that Gen Z are harder to please in their customer interactions.
  • With video games being very popular among youth, it’s not surprising that 6 of the top 20 standout brands for Gen Z are either gaming brands or those that are “heavily involved in the gaming industry.” These include Discord and Twitch.
  • Food and beverage brands accounted for half (20) of the 40 most popular brands among Gen Z.
  • Gen Zers like some brands a lot more than their older Millennial counterparts. The biggest gap is for Discord (+18% points), though there are also double-digit gaps in favorability for TikTok, Crocs, Snapchat, and Shein.
  • YouTube is the most popular brand with Gen Z men, followed by Gatorade and PlayStation. YouTube is also the most popular among Gen Z women, but is followed by Google and Netflix.

For more, download the study here.

About the Data: The results are based on data gathered May 1-Aug. 21, 2022. Sample sizes vary by brand, with an average representative sample of 16,053 U.S. adults per brand, including an average of 2,031 Gen Z adults (those born between 1997 and 2004).

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