Current events and the effects of the recent pandemic have never played a more important factor in what defines a brand’s success with the newest generation. Morning Consult’s Gen Z’s Most Loved Brands of 2020 ranks the most popular B2C companies with Gen Z and how the COVID-19 pandemic affected their future consumption behavior and expectations. We’ll explore key data points influencing the ranking, and what brands need to know to stay relevant and loved by Gen Z.

Gen Z and Purchasing Behavior

We’ve seen firsthand the growth of brands through online media and social advertising. Gen Z is the force behind this, but many of them don’t realize the impact of changing brand preferences. The more they turn toward brands impacting different industries, the less they are influenced by brands they were committed to before the pandemic. Morning Consult’s report found that even though their behaviors are changing, they don’t know which of these trends will stick in the long-run. Some of these buying behaviors consist of spending towards causes that matter, supporting more brands promoting inclusivity, and buying fewer premium goods, post-pandemic.

Streaming Has Never Been Bigger

Taking a deep dive into Morning Consult’s ranking this year, the Top 25 Most Loved Brands consist mainly of streaming services. At the top is Netflix, YouTube, Google, Amazon Prime, Spotify, Disney+ and Hulu. Gen Z’s buying behavior shows a need to fill their time and entertain themselves as most are still attending online Zoom classes, while a very small percentage are essential workers during this time. This ranking is based on four metrics which consist of a Favorability Score, Trust Score, Community Impact Score and Net Promoter Score. These brands have successfully addressed current social issues and won the hearts of the newest generation with their consistent efforts to stay relevant and provide content that appeases loyal and potential customers. Streaming has never been bigger during a pandemic as this new generation turns to these services for entertainment, relevant content and discussion points with people they once saw in-person.

A Consumer Revolution

By understanding the trends and forecasted behavior of Gen Z, companies have come to discover that past strategies aren’t as effective for this new audience. Morning Consult details three key takeaways in what they call a “Gen Z Threat” to brands desperate to stay relevant and survive these changes. Brands our grandparents and parents are loyal to are now fading away as a majority of Gen Z’ers have only heard about 75% of them. Brand awareness is growing with previous generations as they navigate their way in the digital world, but Gen Z has already been there and seen that. Additionally, their love for the brands mentioned in the Top 50 isn’t as high compared to the previous generations’ rankings. General skepticism and lack of commitment towards these brands cause the new generation to trust and promote them a lot less. More so, legacy brands are starting to become irrelevant as Gen Z becomes increasingly knowledgeable of important brand values and messaging towards global current events.

Gen Z is a tough judge, and they are examining old and new brands as a whole. As brands fight to be in the eye of their newest audience, they must be able to complete the long checklist of requirements this new generation requires. Morning Consult’s report revealed more than just upcoming and popular brands this year. They were able to show us the changing landscape of the retail future and what is needed to maintain favorability in a digital and judgmental ecosystem.

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