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The top 50 brands for millennials

Business Insider 2/06/2015 ASHLEY LUTZ

Asus Padfone 2 tablet© Provided by Business Insider Asus Padfone 2 tablet Millennials are set to become the largest group of consumers in America.

Ad agency Moosylvania asked 1,500 millennials — defined as 20 to 35-year-olds — to vote for their favorite brands.

The results show which brands dominate among this subset.

50. Asus

Headquarters: Taipei, Taiwan

% change in votes from last year's ranking: -13%

Why it's hot: This Taiwanese company is the fifth-largest PC vendor in the world. The brand is making headlines for its inexpensive Android smartphone and ZenWatch. But as more consumers turn to Android, Asus could be challenged.

49. Bethesda Softworks

Headquarters: Bethesda, Maryland

% change in votes from last year's ranking: 94%

Why it's hot: This video game publisher is perhaps best-known for its Elder Scrolls series. It also adapts popular series such as Star Trek and The Terminator into games. Bethesda will benefit as more millennials pick up electronic hobbies like playing games.

48. LG Corporation

Headquarters: Busan, South Korea

% change in votes from last year's ranking: -23%

Why it's hot: LG's electronics scored high with millennials. However, it continues to be challenged by competitors in the ultra-crowded tech space.

Headquarters: Busan, South Korea

% change in votes from last year's ranking: -23%

Why it's hot: LG's electronics scored high with millennials. However, it continues to be challenged by competitors in the ultra-crowded tech space.

47. Wendy's

Headquarters: Columbus, Ohio

% change in votes from last year's ranking: New to list

Why it's hot: Wendy's new marketing campaign is ultra-focused on millennials, with the young "Red" character in commercials and new items like pretzel cheeseburgers. Wendy's has always emphasized being fresher than competitors, making every burger to-order and not freezing beef. In the era of Chipotle, this message resonates with millennials.

46. Aeropostale

Headquarters: New York, New York

% change in votes from last year's ranking: -31%

Why it's hot: Despite falling out of favor with the teen set, Aeropostale still maintains some loyalty with the 20-somethings who wore it in high school. The brand's status, however, is falling fast as young people increasingly move away from logos.

45. Under Armour

Under Armour has exploded in popularity in recent years.© Provided by Business Insider Under Armour has exploded in popularity in recent years. Headquarters: Baltimore, Maryland

% change in votes from last year's ranking: -27%

Why it's hot: Under Armour has exploded in popularity in recent years thanks to signing famous athletes like Stephen Curry and smart marketing of its performance-wear. But the brand faces steep competition from Lululemon, which is expanding its men's line, and Nike, which continues to dominate the space.

44. Android

But Android is still having trouble catching up to Apple's iOS system.© Provided by Business Insider But Android is still having trouble catching up to Apple's iOS system. Headquarters: Mountain View, California

% change in votes from last year's ranking: -8%

Why it's hot: The operating system currently developed by Google has a big following as consumers seek out different options from Apple. But Android is still having trouble catching up to Apple's iOS system.

43. Chanel

Headquarters: Paris, France

% change in votes from last year's ranking: New to list

Why it's hot: The luxury brand's outlandish fashion shows, which included an elaborate grocery store, tend to go viral on social media. Models like Kendall Jenner and Cara Delevingne give the legacy brand modern relevance.

42. Sprint

Headquarters: Overland Park, Kansas

% change in votes from last year's ranking: New to list

Why it's hot: Sprint aggressively markets cell phone plans that are cheaper than AT&T or Verizon, and will even buy out your contract if you join. This strategy appears to be working with millennials, who are very connected to their smartphones.

41. Levi's

Headquarters: San Francisco, California

% change in votes from last year's ranking: -18%

Why it's hot: Levi's has benefitted from young consumers' tendency to wear denim and casual clothing to work. But now, many millennials are abandoning denim entirely, choosing to wear athletic attire instead.

40. Kraft

Starting in 2016, Kraft's original Macaroni & Cheese will get its color from natural spices.© Provided by Business Insider Starting in 2016, Kraft's original Macaroni & Cheese will get its color from natural spices. Headquarters: Northfield, Illinois

% change in votes from last year's ranking: 217%

Why it's hot: Kraft scored big points with millennials this year when it announced that starting in 2016, its original Macaroni & Cheese will get its color from natural spices like paprika instead of from artificial additives Yellow 5 and Yellow 6.

39. Kellogg's

© Provided by Business Insider Headquarters: Battle Creek, Michigan

% change in votes from last year's ranking: 21%

Why it's hot: Cereal sales might be declining, but sales of other products owned by the company, like Eggo waffles, Pop-Tarts, and Cheez-Its, are booming.

38. Victoria's Secret

Headquarters: Columbus, Ohio

% change in votes from last year's ranking: -4%

Why it's hot: Victoria's Secret is the undisputed leader of the lingerie market, controlling 35% of share. The company's marketing strategy, which includes its famous Angels, is seen as one of the best in the business. Lately, Victoria's Secret has received some criticism for not offering plus sizes.

37. Hershey's

Headquarters: Hershey, Pennsylvania

% change in votes from last year's ranking: 6%

Why it's hot: Hershey's has dropped artificial colorings from its chocolate. "We are committed to making our products using ingredients that are simple and easy-to-understand, like fresh milk from local farms, roasted California almonds, cocoa beans and sugar – ingredients you recognize, know and trust," the company said in a news release.

36. Forever 21

Headquarters: Los Angeles, California

% change in votes from last year's ranking: -30%

Why it's hot: Forever 21 offers fast fashion at unbeatable prices and has expanded tremendously in two decades. However, many millennials are choosing to invest in a few quality pieces rather than buy cheap clothing, threatening Forever 21's dominance.

35. Hewlett-Packard

© Provided by Business Insider Headquarters: Palo Alto, California

% change in votes from last year's ranking: -13%

Why it's hot: Young consumers love Hewlett-Packard's relatively inexpensive laptops — the company saw a 19% increase in sales of notebook units in the most recent quarter. 

34. Nestle

© Provided by Business Insider Headquarters: Vevey, Vaud Switzerland

% change in votes from last year's ranking: 260%

Why it's hot: Nestle is also jumping on the natural ingredients bandwagon. The company has committed to removing artificial flavors and FDA-certified colors, like Red 40 and Yellow 5, from all of its chocolate candy products.

33. Oreo

Headquarters: Deerfield, Illinois

% change in votes from last year's ranking: New to list

Why it's hot: Oreo's brand has classic appeal. However, the company has managed to stay current by offering limited-time flavors like S'mores. This has helped to spark a discussion on social media.

32. Colgate

Headquarters: New York, New York

% change in votes from last year's ranking: 44%

Why it's hot: Colgate's Optic White line, which guarantees whiter teeth in one day, is driving sales with younger people. The company hired YouTube beauty stars to market the product.

31. Honda

Headquarters: Hamamatsu, Japan

% change in votes from last year's ranking: New to list

Why it's hot: Honda's fuel-efficient, compact cars appeal to millennials. The company has poured investments into hybrid models.

30. Ralph Lauren

© Provided by Business Insider Headquarters: New York, New York

% change in votes from last year's ranking: 74%

Why it's hot: Ralph Lauren's brand is available at more than 11,000 stores worldwide. The brand has become more active on social media and hired Sports Illustrated cover model Hannah Davis to model its resort collection.

29. XBox

© Provided by Business Insider Headquarters: Redmond, Washington

% change in votes from last year's ranking: no change

Why it's hot: The new Xbox One console made Xbox a hot buy in 2014. Millennials are increasingly turning to gaming and other electronic hobbies over traditional sports like tennis and golf.

28. Best Buy

Headquarters: Minneapolis, Minnesota

% change in votes from last year's ranking: 114%

Why it's hot: Best Buy has been succesfully growing sales and revenue through its television business. Best Buy's television prices are up 6% from a year ago — less than Amazon's gains of 9.2%. Executives at Best Buy have made it clear that 4K Ultra High Definition televisions are the future of the business.

27. Verizon

Headquarters: New York, New York

% change in votes from last year's ranking: 346%

Why it's hot: Verizon is continuing to dominate the mobile space. The company also recently purchased AOL, showing it is interested in producing more content. The company has recently endeared millennials by making its data plan cheaper.

26. Dove

© Provided by Business Insider Headquarters: Rotterdam, Netherlands

% change in votes from last year's ranking: 30%

Why it's hot: Dove, which is owned by Unilever, just posted a huge jump in sales. The company's "real beauty" campaign, which emphasizes natural looks over the typically airbrushed ads, resonate well with millennials.

25. Vans

© Provided by Business Insider Headquarters: Cypress, California

% change in votes from last year's ranking: -13%

Why it's hot: Vans started out selling skater shoes, but has since gone mainstream. The company has benefitted from athletic footwear becoming more fashionable than dress shoes.

24. Valve

Headquarters: Bellevue, Washington

% change in votes from last year's ranking: 47%

Why it's hot: The video-game developer rose to prominence with its Half-Life franchise in 1998. The brand has a huge following on Facebook and frequently posts giveaways.

23. Chevrolet

Headquarters: Detroit, Michigan

% change in votes from last year's ranking: New to list

Why it's hot: Chevy's compact, Trax SUV is a hit with urban millennials. The brand also just revealed a new Camaro for the modern consumer.

22. Starbucks

Headquarters: Seattle, Washington

% change in votes from last year's ranking: 1%

Why it's hot: Starbucks has been expanding its menu to include more food options such as sandwiches and salads. It has also added drive-thrus to many locations. "Starbucks is virtually the only large incumbent that can offer millennial parents the convenience of a (fast food chain) and food they would not feel guilty/embarrassed to feed to their kids," Goldman Sachs' analysts write.

21. Pizza Hut

© Provided by Business Insider Headquarters: Wichita, Kansas

% change in votes from last year's ranking: new to list

Why it's hot: In November, Pizza Hut called the millennial-focused "Flavors of Now" campaign the biggest makeover in company history. After considering what millennials would want, Pizza Hut added new crusts in flavors like Honey Sriracha and Ginger Boom Boom.

20. Converse

© Provided by Business Insider Headquarters: Malden, Massachusetts

% change in votes from last year's ranking: -11%

Why it's hot: Converse has seen sales boom as more millennials wear sneakers to work and other occasions. Athletic apparel and footwear is set to outperform the industry for the next five years, according to Morgan Stanley.

19. Ford

Headquarters: Dearborn, Michigan

% change in votes from last year's ranking: 64%

Why it's hot: Ford is repositioning its brand to seem more luxury and compete with auto-makers like BMW and Mercedes with the launch of the new Vignale brand. The new line of compact sedans could resonate with millennials, who prefer smaller cars then their parents'.

18. JCPenney

Headquarters: Plano, Texas

% change in votes from last year's ranking: 41%

Why it's hot: JCPenney has been working to execute a turnaround, and it's working. According to research firm Piper Jaffray, the department store is the third most-popular among female shoppers.

17. McDonald's

Headquarters: Oak Brook, Illinois

% change in votes from last year's ranking: 14%

Why it's hot: McDonald's is still the most visited restaurant for the millennial demographic, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley. The brand has been introducing more fresh ingredients and customizable burgers to compete with fast casual brands.

16. Macy's

© Provided by Business Insider Headquarters: Cincinnati, Ohio

% change in votes from last year's ranking: 259%

Why it's hot: Millennials are spending less money on clothes, which is bad news for Macy's. In order to attract younger shoppers, the brand has been investing in trendier clothing lines and other categories like home goods and cosmetics.

15. Dell

© Provided by Business Insider Headquarters: Round Rock, Texas

% change in votes from last year's ranking: 25%

Why it's hot: Dell is another company benefiting from millennials' reliance on technology. The company's laptop and desktop computers are especially popular with the young set.

14. Adidas

Headquarters: Herzogenaurach, Germany

% change in votes from last year's ranking: -7%

Why it's hot: Adidas is going to start offering customized shoes to appeal to millennials. It also is working to reduce the time between when products are designed and when they hit shelves. Still, the brand continues to lose market share to Nike.

13. Nintendo

Headquarters: Kyoto, Japan

% change in votes from last year's ranking: -5%

Why it's hot: Many millennials feel nostalgic toward Nintendo because they played its games as kids. This has led to brand loyalty in adulthood.

12. Google

Headquarters: Menlo Park, California

% change in votes from last year's ranking: 4%

Why it's hot: Google's smartphone apps have become essential for many millennials. Its Gmail program is also extremely popular.

11. Amazon

© Provided by Business Insider Headquarters: Seattle, Washington

% change in votes from last year's ranking: 8%

Why it's hot: This year, the company started offering one-hour delivery for members of its Prime service and expanded its grocery delivery business to New York City. The company also announced a new gadget called the Dash Button, which will make it easier for consumers to order household items, such as detergent, when they are running low.

10. Pepsi

© Provided by Business Insider Headquarters: Purchase, New York

% change in votes from last year's ranking: 90%

Why it's hot: PepsiCo has introduced a beverage sweetened with natural sweetener Stevia called Pepsi True. The company says the new product "will continue to provide consumers with the crisp, refreshing zero-calorie cola taste they expect from Pepsi." It also removed artificial ingredient aspartame from Diet Pepsi.

9. Jordan

Headquarters: Beaverton, Oregon

% change in votes from last year's ranking: 45%

Why it's hot: Many of Nike's Jordan brand sneakers are prominent on the billion-dollar reselling market. A growing culture of so-called sneakerheads buy collectible footwear on eBay, Craigslist, and other sites.

8. Coca-Cola

Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia

% change in votes from last year's ranking: 6%

Why it's hot: Coca-Cola remains the clear leader in the soda market, with a 17.6% share. By comparison, Pepsi has an 8.8% share of the market. The brand also scored high points for its "Share a Coke" campaign, which featured common names on Coke bottles.

7. Microsoft

© Provided by Business Insider Headquarters: Redmond, Washington

% change in votes from last year's ranking: -3%

Why it's hot: Cloud computing, mobile apps, and holographic computing are driving Microsoft to record profits. The brand recently did a demo showing how personal computers could become holographic.

6. Target

Headquarters: Minneapolis, Minnesota

% change in votes from last year's ranking: 21%

Why it's hot: Target invented the idea of "cheap chic" two decades ago. Today, the company is revamping its grocery selections for millennials.

5. Wal-Mart

© Provided by Business Insider Headquarters: Bentonville, Arkansas

% change in votes from last year's ranking: 19%

Why it's hot: Wal-Mart gave its workers a raise this year and has pledged to adopt more humane standards for the meat it sells. It also opened smaller format stores that resonate with millennials more than supercenters.

4. Sony

Headquarters: Minato, Tokyo

% change in votes from last year's ranking: 1%

Why it's hot: Sony's Playstation, gaming, photo, and music businesses are booming. Sony is aggressively investing in these areas. The company also has popular smartphones.

3. Samsung

Headquarters: San Jose, California

% change in votes from last year's ranking: no change

Why it's hot: Samsung's Galaxy phones and tablets are extremely popular with millennials. The brand's latest Galaxy S6 smartphone received rave reviews.

2. Apple

Headquarters: Cupertino, California

% change in votes from last year's ranking: no change

Why it's hot: Apple has a fanatical following, and many of its customers are millennials. The company's iPhones, iPads, and Macbooks are wildly popular. This year, Apple made headlines with its new watch.

1. Nike

© Provided by Business Insider Headquarters: Beaverton, Oregon

% change in votes from last year's ranking: no change

Why it's hot: Data also shows that millennials believe exercise is essential for health, while their parents only focused on diet, and Nike is the go-to brand, holding 62% of the athletic shoe market. "Increased activity leads to increased athletic apparel and footwear spending," the analysts write. "We see athletic footwear and apparel as more than a fashion trend."

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