Which brands do millennials like best?

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Millennials seek out brands that offer experiences / Ian Schneider on Unsplash

With the buzzword ‘millennial’ in the limelight, everybody wants to snap up the attention of the young generation. To get a clearer idea of exactly what benefits they look for in a brand, we surveyed 120 members of the lucrative group to have their say on their favourite companies and trends to find out what they really think of this label.

The Millenials’ Choice survey results below highlight how each brand won over this increasingly sought-after generation of consumers.

Best Beverage – Coca-Cola

Reliability, taste and familiarity are main factors for millennials choosing beverage brands as Coca Cola takes first place, with 1 in 4 voting them their favourite drink. These consumers enjoy the incomparable taste of the fizzy drink and add it to their baskets because they simply know what they are buying.

Coca-Cola’s marketing push is profound in the industry and it’s no surprise that respondents' familiarity to the brand pushes them to buy it, from traditional values passed down from older family generations to memorable advertising. Millennial’s can rely on Coca-Cola. It’s what their parents drink and their parent’s parents and so on.

Best Clothing Brand – Asos

When it comes to fashion, millennials are opting for retailers that can meet their demands for variety, access and loyalty perks. Our respondents chose Asos as their favourite fashion retailer, followed by New Look, Topshop, and Zara, and a popular vote for Next came from the older end of the millennial spectrum, putting them in fifth place.

Asos also came out on top in the fashion loyalty survey as the most recognised brand, rewarding customers, and it seems that this is what places it in overall number one for this category.

Favourite Supermarket – Tesco

As millennials make a move towards more affluent brands, putting Marks and Spencer in second place with 16% of votes, it’s actually Tesco that tops the leader board for best supermarket. The top five supermarkets (Tesco, Marks and Spencer, Aldi, Waitrose, Sainsbury's) show a real mix of preference, showing the value supermarket Aldi in third place, with affluent retailer Waitrose and Sainsbury’s (one of the ‘big four’) in joint fourth place.

A quarter of millennials commented on convenient location, trust/brand guarantee and Clubcard perks when voting Tesco as their favourite supermarket.

Favourite food-service – Nandos

Nando’s is the fiery hot choice formillennials, ahead of Just Eat (in second place), Domino’s, Pizza Express and Five Guys. Millennials are looking towards casual dining, offering a more relaxed and diverse ambience with increased flexibility –similar to that of Nando’s, where diners can order and pay, then eat and leave as they wish.

Over two thirds of UK consumers use discounts and promotional offers when eating out and more than a quarter of Brits will only dine at restaurants that offer promotions, with figures rising among millennials.

Favourite telecoms brand – O2

Over a quarter of millennials decided that O2 deserved gold, followed by EE, 3, Vodafone and Giffgaff. We then asked respondents what it was that mobile brands can do to value them as a customer and the results show that millennials demand customisation and control. Many respondents commented on how great O2 Priority is for them as they enjoy free gig and cinema tickets. Loyalty seems to be king in the telecoms industry and millennials will respond well to those that can prove added value.

Favourite travel brand – Airbnb

Millennials want to holiday with Airbnb as they vote the travel company their favourite brand in the category. Winning over one in six respondents, Airbnb was followed by airline Thomas Cook in second place, Skyscanner, Tui and Mum’s favourite airline brand EasyJet in fifth place.

It’s not just about the place to stay but the experiences their customers encounter; Airbnb leads discovery, with hosts in the area teaching how to cook local cuisines and hosting fun nights out in the city.

Favourite Banking Brand – Santander

The competition was close with millennials’ favourite banks but Santander won over the majority with 19% of the votes, followed by Lloyds, Barclays, NatWest and HSBC. Respondents made their decisions based on benefits, customer service and security which is mirrored in most banking surveys, outside of the millennial group.

Favourite Food Brand – Cadbury

Cadbury takes first place in the food category, as millennials value the brand’s image, taste and enjoy the tradition of having its chocolate bars in the family. Other contenders in the top five include Ben & Jerrys, Doritos, Kinder and Lindt, but in true Cadbury style, the home grown brand dominated the category votes.

Favourite personal care brand – Nivea

Nivea, one of the leading companies in the field of skin care, wins first place in the personal care brand category, followed by Dove, Simple, L’oreal and Tresemme. Naturally, millennials voted for Nivea for its high quality and affordable price tag and the product compliments and cares for all skin types.

Targeting millennials

According to our panel, there is too much of a blur between demographic groups. Brands need to take the term ‘millennial’ with a pinch of salt, as the blur of specified dates means definitions of who exactly qualifies as one is still unclear.

Brands need to be wary about targeting 'millennials’. Some may cross borders with Gen Z or some might not follow the same typical trends. Either way, a majority of this group are seeking out brands that offer experiences that can complement the products they buy. A digital world is effecting the way in which the group engages with brands from influence to purchase but attention span is low. Disruption is essential and understanding is key.

Danielle Gamage is PR and marketing executive at TLC Marketing.

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