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September 10, 2020
9/10/2020

Building brands with Gen Z: new Kantar research on Gen Z's brand preferences

Engaging Gen Z is an opportunity for brands
Gen Zers represent a meaningful opportunity for brands. 
There are over 1.2 billion Gen Z teenagers and adults globally.1 Estimates of their annual purchasing power are meaningful and are as high as $323 billion in the US, with researchers estimating this can grow by more than 4X when accounting for Gen Z’s influence over others in their household.2 Gen Z’s importance for marketers will only increase; in the US, Gen Z will make up 30% of the US workforce by 20303and is estimated to increase their per capita annual expenditure by 70% between 2020 and 20254.
New research from Kantar -- presented below -- sheds new light on how Gen Z are forming brand preferences.
Understanding Gen Z’s brand preferences
Snap commissioned a study from Kantar that analyzed how people of different ages develop and change their brand preferences. Over 12,000 research participants from six countries -- Australia, Canada, France, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and the United States -- answered a fifteen minute survey about their brand preferences. Participants aged thirteen and above answered questions about their feelings toward brands generally and in two specific product categories.5The questionnaire was fielded in late April after a global pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization, and participants were recruited and weighted to represent the total population of each country. 
We observe Gen Z indicating a high rate of brand preference -- as measured by their likelihood to prefer 1-3 brands above others in that category -- in a diverse set of product categories globally.
This could be because many Gen Zers express themselves through brand selection. We observe Gen Z saying that brands allow them to express themselves at rates higher than older generations in every market except Saudi Arabia; for example, in Australia, 65% of Gen Z say they use brands to express who they are, versus 40% for Gen X and Baby Boomers. 
To understand what drives brand preference among Gen Z, we asked research participants to assign attributes to the brands they use -- like ‘this brand cares about its customers’. We then calculated an average for how much this attribute meant to each generation for the brands they used. When we look at what makes Gen Z’s selection of brand attributes unique relative to Gen X / Baby Boomers, there are consistent themes that emerge around the environment, caring about customers, and product exclusivity. We don’t observe much difference between Gen Z and Gen X / Baby Boomers on dimensions like having the best product features or enjoyment.
Brand advocacy means growth, not just retention, with Gen Z
More than half of Gen Z participants in the US said their favorite brand was recommended by friends and family, which was over 50% more Gen X and Baby Boomers in the US. This suggests there is an opportunity for brands to grow with Gen Z by making advocates of their friends and family.
The Snapchat Generation love brands
Lastly, Kantar analyzed how Snapchatters -- inclusive of all ages -- feel toward brands. Here we observe how Snapchatters in the United States compare with non-Snapchatters on key brand dimensions. We observe Snapchatters having higher affinity toward brands than non-Snapchatters. They are more likely to look at brands as a mode of self expression and look to their friends and family to tell them about new brands.

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1Global population age 15-24 as of 2020 from United Nations: https://population.un.org/wpp/DataQuery/
2Cassandra, an Engine company; based on 2019 survey of 1,000 Gen Ys and Gen Zs in both the U.S. and UK. This sample is nationally representative based on age, gender, region, and race/ethnicity.
3https://www.bls.gov/spotlight/2016/a-look-at-the-future-of-the-us-labor-force-to-2060/home.htm
4 “How marketers can win with Gen Z and millennials post-COVID”, 2020; Boston Consulting Group. Commissioned by Snap.
5A total of seven categories were analyzed in each market. Only two categories per market included respondents age 13-17.