Which brands are feeling the love from Gen Z? Here’s the tea.

Earlier this month, YouthInsight published the Top 100 Youth Brands Report 2021. Let’s break down the results.

In a year where the word “unprecedented” was used thousands of times, it’s only natural that Gen Z turned to brands they trusted to help them get through coronavirus lockdowns, feel less isolated, and study from home effectively. When you hear how our respondents talk about their favourite brands, it becomes obvious that young people support brands that closely align with their values and help make their busy lives easier.

Which brand does that the best? YouTube. Yet again, the online video sharing and social media platform has taken the top spot—the same way it did in our 2019 report.

It’s not entirely difficult to see why. After all, YouTube provides a diverse and dynamic range of content on topics Gen Z is interested in, including entertainment, music, tutorials, and lifestyle advice. Providing a mixture of educational and funny videos, it’s undeniably the go-to place for young people, with one respondent saying, “I use YouTube daily for so many different things, entertainment, how-to videos, mindfulness, etc.” Another respondent commented that “YouTube is helpful when I cannot understand something or want to learn something,” which is particularly significant in the context of online learning during the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, YouTube helps amplify a myriad of underrepresented voices and perspectives, which Gen Z appreciates hearing.

While YouTube coming in at #1 isn’t necessarily surprising, that’s not to say that this year’s Top 100 report didn’t contain a few shocks. We knew that COVID-19 would undoubtedly have an impact on the results, however, perhaps we underestimated just how much. For example, Officeworks snagged the runner-up spot, with one respondent saying, “Officeworks has affordable prices and offers both luxury and affordable options for everything. It’s a convenient place to buy and use office-related products (i.e., printing, scanning).”

Woolworths, Google and Netflix all held onto spots in the Top 5 in 2021, with Spotify jumping up to #4. “Spotify is the most customisable and personalised entertainment brand I have ever used. It tailors everything shown on the home page to your preferences after analysis of your data, and its recommendations actually match my real interests,” one respondent said. Not only does Spotify provide value for money, but the music streaming service delivers a highly personalised experience—something that’s important to Gen Z when there are countless brands competing for their attention.

Of course, not every brand is feeling the love from Gen Z. Despite experiencing a surge in popularity during COVID lockdowns, TikTok only ranked #91, with 13 per cent of respondents answering that they “hate” the platform. “TikTok has just become a bit too popular recently—it’s lost its appeal to me and has become more annoying than entertaining,” one respondent said. Another flagged concerns over the app’s privacy policy, saying, “I don’t trust what they do with the personal information. I also feel like it’s a toxic environment.”

Furthermore, this year’s Top 100 report highlights how passionate young people are about ethical and sustainable brand behaviour. Beauty brand L’Oreal fell four places in 2021, with respondents pointing out issues with the brand’s “unethical production” and “misleading” advertising.

Download the full report here to find out how Gen Z feels about your brand, and discover which brands took the top spot in each category.

Australia’s Top 10 Youth Brands for 2021:

1. YouTube
2. Officeworks
3. Netflix
4. Spotify
5. Woolworths
6. Google
7. JB Hi-Fi
8. Google Maps
9. Kmart
10. Coles