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Mary McIlrath

This was the second year running that Toy Fair in New York wasn’t. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t get some good insights into the state of play for the coming year. YouthBeat sat in on the virtual Toy of the Year Awards presentation, and most of the winners are what we’d call “Pros:” the brands you’ve heard of that perennially release great products that promote joy, comfort, imagination, escape from daily stressors, and stimulation during playtime.

Liz Dibley, Senior Analyst

When thinking about their favorite brands, our YouthBeat panelists point towards brands most relevant to what they wear, play with, and eat. Is it so different for adults? In the first half of 2021, youth name Nike as their top favorite brand followed by LEGO, Xbox, Adidas, and McDonald’s.* Meanwhile, 11% say they don’t really have a favorite.* When asked to describe their most treasured brands, youth’s descriptions reflect their life stages.

Mary McIlrath

We’ve long said that Gen Z is dedicated to inclusion. They’ve taken to protesting racial injustice since 2016, when students staged walkouts and sit-ins in support of people who were told to “go back where they came from” in a nation of immigrants. They’ve rallied around their LGBTQ+ friends to defend their basic liberties like which restroom they can use.

Mary McIlrath

At YouthBeat®, we publish a quarterly newsletter highlighting new and newly-relevant youth + family culture elements that we expect to be relevant to brands’ portfolios beyond a fad’s lifespan. Rather, we identify constructs that we predict will still be applicable in a year, five years, even ten years down the road. In our Winter 2021/2022 edition, we start by broaching the topic of what Generation Z adulting looks like in the workplace and the nursery. Gen Z parents, in particular, are a group we’ll be keeping an eye on in the next several years.

Mary McIlrath

The year 2021 has been one of adjustment and recalibration for youth and adults alike. Schools are mostly back in-person, but Covid variants aren’t going away anytime soon. The ensuing inflation and supply chain issues have had everyone wondering what the “new normal” can, and does, look like, and that picture changes regularly. Youth culture, however, marches forward—and here are YouthBeat’s top highlights from the last 12 months:

2021 kids holiday wish list

Holiday Wish List

YouthBeat's Holiday Wish List for kids, tweens, and teens is available for download here!

Find out whether youth want lots of small gifts or just one big gift, also what are this year’s hottest gift cards, and more. And, given the way family time has changed throughout the pandemic, this year we added a question, “If someone were to gift you ‘an experience’ where you spend time together, what would you want it to be?” 

Please download it now by completing the form.

 YouthBeat Generational Spotlight July 2021

Infographic: YouthBeat Generational Spotlight July 2021

download Now!

YouthBeat® Generational Spotlight Infographic

Download our snapshot that compares Generation Alpha, Generation Z, and Millennials. 

Mary McIlrath

At C+R Research/YouthBeat®, we’ve been generational experts for decades. We’ve been doing custom research with youth since the 1970s and have had our own proprietary panels of kids, tweens, teens, and parents since the early 2000s. Sometimes we think we’ve seen it all—we’ve lived through almost every fashion trend and musical style, seen one technological disruption after another, and borne witness to the eternal joys and tragedies of growing up into adulthood.

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