What Gen Z is looking for in a brand, from tech giants to chain stores

Affordability and value for money are key among Australia’s youth as they spend with overseas tech giants, affordable chain stores, and the big supermarkets.

This is according to YouthInsight’s Top 100 Youth Brands Report, which saw the research arm of Student Edge survey over 1,000 Australians aged between 14 and 24 on their favourite brands, and the qualities they attribute to each.

A cursory look at the top ten shows that affordability, ease, and quality trumps all. YouTube is the most favoured brand among Gen Z, for the third year in a row, with Spotify coming in second, followed by Google.

Woolworths, Kmart, Netflix, Instagram, Coles, Google Maps, and McDonald’s round out the top ten — showing a distinct lack of snootiness among the youth of Australia.

The top five values Gen Z look for in their brands are value for money, high-quality, ethical, sustainable product development, and student discounts.

Below is the top brand in each category, and the top value attributed to these brands.

“Within specific brand categories, we observe a consistent trend where the leading brands are those that possess a deep understanding of the preferences and motivations of young people,” explains Dr. Anna Denejkina, PhD, research director for YouthInsight.

“Brands championing ethical values, inclusivity, affordability, and convenience consistently occupy the top positions.

“Innovation, integrity, and the delivery of high-quality products remain paramount for Gen Z, our largest generation, comprising around 20 per cent of Australia’s population. In saying this, brands must consider, collaborate with, and cater to this demographic and its values or risk losing market share.

“Since 2019, YouTube has consistently secured the top spot in the Top 100 list, a trend that persists in 2023. Remarkably, a staggering 90 per cent of Gen Zs expressed their fondness for YouTube, with this sentiment being consistent across genders, locations, and age groups.

“Gen Z gravitates toward the platform due to its rich diversity of content, creators, and the opportunity it provides to express and share their unique interests and viewpoints. However, YouTube’s appeal extends beyond its videos, as it fosters a sense of community and belonging. Our prior research has underscored the significance of connection for Gen Z, and we observe this importance reflected in their brand and entertainment preferences for 2023.”

Below is the entire list.

Of course, where there are top brands, there are also bottom brands. Below is the entire list of brands in the survey.


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