The annual Piper Sandler Taking Stock with Teens survey came out Thursday and it was jam-packed with information about late Generation Z that brands will want to know.
First, which restaurant brands reign supreme among the youth? Well, Chick-fil-A took the number one spot in yet another age group.
Popular among Millennials and Gen X, Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A – which was ranked number one in the American Consumer Index Satisfaction Restaurant Study’s annual report for the eighth consecutive year – has been testing various drive-thru and delivery strategies lately.
That includes a mobile-only lane in over 60 locations. Initial tests showed an increased speed of service and autonomous vehicles in several cities for delivery options. The Chick-fil-A drive-thru, notorious for its speed of service, has been hampered in recent years by volume. One city in California that almost had the local Chick-fil-A declared a public nuisance earlier this year because of the busy drive-thru lane.
The other chains that ranked in the top five of teens’ favorite brands were Starbucks, Chipotle Mexican Grill, McDonald’s, and Olive Garden. The Darden Brands restaurant, which recently brought back its endless pasta deal, was the only full-service chain to make it onto the list.
For upper-income men with an average age of 15.8, the number one spending area was food, with 23% of the market share. For young women, it was clothing.
Despite making big, flashy debuts on the market and quiet returns to the drawing board after initial trials, plant-based meats may be on the way out – at least according to teens. Of the 14% of teens who do consume plant-based meat, 22% plan to consume less of it than they did last year, up from 17% the year prior. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for more customers who are interested in the novelty or the planet-saving measures.
Elsewhere, TikTok increased its dominance of the market share with 38% of teens’ preference. That compares to Snapchat, which had 30% of teens’ votes for their favorite social-media platform, and Instagram, which only held 20% of the market share.
That’s an interesting metric for this generation with increasing buying power. These consumers are on TikTok much more than any other app, meaning that ad campaigns should focus on TikTok versus Instagram or television, something many young consumers probably aren’t even watching.
Taco Bell, which just released its Mexican Pizza: The Musical on TikTok, is a great example of a brand using the power of Gen Z to market itself. The video debuting the Mexican Pizza currently has over 57 million views. And this video showing the Taco Bell test kitchen testing out new menu hacks has over 260 million views.
The quick-service brand just partnered with another TikTok-famous brand, Truff, for a collaborative Nacho Fries with Truff sauce this week.
The future of virtual reality among teens remains unclear. Usage of virtual reality devices lessened from 17% in the spring to 14% in the fall, with 25% of teens owning a virtual reality device (that number remained flat).
Starbucks, teens’ second-favorite restaurant chain, recently entered the metaverse but with a twist – there are no VR goggles required. Opening the metaverse to everyone, all customers will need in the future is the app to download and use Starbucks’ metaverse. Only time will tell if this strategy – when it comes out – will work with teens who have access to actual virtual reality goggles.