- Generation Zs were born after 1997.
- They prefer brands that are healthy, socially conscious, and connected with influencers on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat.
- But many of their favorite brands are shared by older generations too.
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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."
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.
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
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.
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
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
Why it's popular: Sonic recently revamped its marketing strategy, menus, and mobile-ordering functions, and is experiencing bumps in its same-store sales.
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.
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.
Why it's popular: Maybelline is skilled at racking up social engagement through collaborations with influencers like Gigi Hadid and educational posts.
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.
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
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."
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
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
Why it's popular: Old Spice has captured the online space with wacky, viral commercials.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
Why it's popular: The Nintendo Switch was a runaway success last year, following on the popularity of Pokemon Go.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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."
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.
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
Why it's popular: Kraft Mac & Cheese has a legacy as a childhood favorite, and it removed all synthetic colors and preservatives in 2015.
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.
Why it's popular: Google remains the mainstay for search engine needs, and Gen Zs grew up relying on Google for information.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Why it's popular: M&Ms has high social-media engagement and works with top influencers like Emma Roberts.
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.
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.
Why it's popular: One of "the most successful snack foods ever," Doritos continues to appeal to Gen Zs with its perfectly engineered taste.