15 brands millennials loved that ‘kids these days’ avoid

Gen Zs have ditched Lacoste for Nike  Sophia Grace/YouTube

Millennials loved Abercrombie and Facebook, but Gen Zs tend to wear fast fashion and athleisure.

Source: 15 brands millennials loved that ‘kids these days’ avoid

By Rachel Premack, Business Insider

  • Millennials loved preppy clothes and Facebook. 
  • But Gen Zs tend to wear fast fashion and athleisure. They’ve also dumped Facebook for Snapchat and Instagram.
  • Read on to see the 15 brands millennials loved as teens that haven’t captured today’s youth.  

When hitting the mall, millennials leaned towards preppy brands like Ralph Lauren.

But today’s teens are all about streetwear, athleisure, and fast fashion — Nike, Adidas, and Forever 21 dominate the Gen Z shopping cart.

Using insights from asset management firm Piper Jaffray’s semi-annual Taking Stock With Teens survey and Bobby Calise, VP of brand tracking at the youth insights firm Ypulse, Business Insider curated a list of 15 companies that millennials adored as teens — but that today’s kids tend to avoid.

Here are the 15 brands, which include footwear, apparel, technology, and beverages:

Ralph Lauren

Mike Stobe/Getty Images for USOC

The trend among Gen Z: Gen Z teens are moving to streetwear styles. Teen boys picked Ralph Lauren as their top 10 favorite clothing brandfrom from 2000 to 2017 — but it fell off the ranking this year.


Cate Gillon/Getty Images

The trend among Gen Z: Among the 160-plus brands that youth-insights firm Ypulse monitors, Crocs do especially poorly for brand influence among Gen Z consumers, Calise told Business Insider. The garden shoe peaked in 2007 across all age groups.


The trend among Gen Z: Snapchat and Instagram are becoming the preferred social networks for teens. Only 8% of teens said Facebook is their favorite social media platform in 2018, while 45% chose Snapchat and 26% picked Instagram.

Steve Madden

The trend among Gen Z: Steven Madden, known for its teetering heels and platform sandals, dominated as a top pick for teen girls for years, reaching No. 2 most-preferred among upper-income teens in 2007. Now, as the women’s shoe industry slants from heels to sneakers, sporty options like Nike and adidas are the leading footwear options for teens.


Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

The trend among Gen Z: Only 8% of teens told YPulse that Dell is a “popular” brand, compared to Apple at 61%. Calise told Business Insider that Dell has lost as a technology company among this teen cohort because it excels at desktop and laptop computers — but teens mostly use their smartphones to navigate the world.

Vineyard Vines

The trend among Gen Z: Preppy looks were big in the late 1990s and 2000s, when millennials were teens, but now Piper Jaffray said Gen Z teens are preferring streetwear styles led by brands like Supreme.


Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images

The trend among Gen Z: Puma was a top 5 teen choice for footwear in the late 2000s. But, even though Gen Zs love sneakers and streetwear brands, Puma has lost out in 2018 to brands like Vans and Adidas. (Its celebrity-studded marketing push, with ambassadors like Rihanna and Kylie Jenner, might just help a comeback, though.)

UGG Australia

The trend among Gen Z: Ugg boots, the love-to-hate footwear of the 2000s, are no longer on teens’ radars, though they were a top-five choicefrom 2008 to 2013. Gen Zs have their own ugly shoe trend: the chunky white dad sneaker.


Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Skullcandy

The trend among Gen Z: Almost 10% of millennials say they pay for Pandora, compared with just 6% of Gen Zers, a study by the consulting firm Fluent found. Generation Z, more than any other generation, prefers subscribing to Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube Red.

Sperry Top-Sider

The trend among Gen Z: The oldest Gen Zs and oldest millennials adored this preppy shoe in the early 2010s, but sneakers are now the go-to comfy shoe.

Tiffany & Co

AP Images/Paul Sakuma

The trend among Gen Z: Gen Zs tend to be pragmatic and frugal. That quality has been pushing them away from Tiffany & Co, which teens see as too “glitzy,” Business Insider previously reported. Meanwhile, the 180-year-old retailer has been making inroads in ecommerce and targeting “millennials” — but not “Gen Zs.”

Vera Bradley

The trend among Gen Z: When they were teenagers, millennials were a leading demographic group for Vera Bradley, that purveyor of quilted cotton handbags and backpacks. But today’s teens named Michael Kors and Gucci as their favorite handbag makers.


The trend among Gen Z: While Skechers have an awareness level of more than 90% among teens, fewer than 20% actually find the brand cool, according to YPulse. Skechers is “caught in a fashion ‘no man’s land,’ where they’re offering teens neither classic nor fresh styles,” Calise told Business Insider.


Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The trend among Gen Z: Calise said Gap was one of the leading retailers of the 90s and 2000s for teen millennials, but now it’s losing out. While 39% of teens told YPulse they would consider buying from Gap in the future, young consumer-focused stores like American Eagle and fast fashion retailers like Forever 21 are leading in the Gen Z sector.

Red Bull

Kristian Dowling/Getty Images

The trend among Gen Z: A fifth of Gen Z consumers told YPulse that they plan on buying Red Bull, compared to 69% with plans to buy Gatorade. Calise attributed that to teens’ interest in healthier food as a whole, and a beverage space that’s increasingly crowded with kombucha, coconut water, and cold brew.



About Donna L. Roberts, PhD

Dr. Donna Roberts has been involved in higher education at military bases for over 30 years, including both faculty and administrative positions. She has been with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University since 2003 and is presently assigned duties as the Department Chair for Social Sciences and Economics in the College of Arts and Sciences. As a faculty member Dr. Roberts has been involved in all aspects of the curriculum – from development to evaluation to delivery. Additionally, she has served as an Officer of the Faculty Senate and on various strategic University committees. Her research interests include media psychology, prison reform, human and animal rights, educational psychology and industrial/organizational psychology. Her background is in education and the social sciences with educational qualifications including: • Ph.D. in Psychology (Northcentral University) • MAS/MBA in Aviation (ERAU) • M.Ed. in Adult & Higher Education (University of Oklahoma) • M.H.R. (University of Oklahoma) • M.Ed. in Counseling (University of Maryland) Donna is originally from a small town in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York – Canandaigua (a Native American name that means “the chosen spot”). She currently resides in Europe with her husband and various rescue cats.
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