Sunday Times GenNext, now in its 17th year, is the leading annual brand preference and consumer behaviour research focusing on South African youth aged 8-30.

This year the research, in which the highly anticipated 2021 Sunday Times GenNext Youth survey and report will be based, will be conducted by Yellowwood, a research company which specialises in providing its clients with tools that enable them to drive sustainable topline growth.

The GenNext report seeks to understand young people so that marketers can use the insights to deliver sustainable business results for their brands.

Speaking at the digital launch of Sunday Times GenNext 2021, Eben Gewers, head of advertising sales and trade marketing at Arena Holdings, explained that the Sunday Times, together with Yellowwood, co-ordinate and digitally host GenNext. The campaign, he said, is about delivering insights into youth brand preferences. The theme of this year’s GenNext campaign is what marketers need to know in order to better connect with the youth of SA.

This year the GenNext campaign includes a six part digital conference, which commences on 11 March; an interactive digital activation which is tailor made to meet partnering brand’s objectives; the 17th annual digital awards to be held on 9 September; and a supplement to be published on 12 September in the Sunday Times and on TimesLIVE. In addition, partnering brands benefit from additional research insights at the 2021 GenNext Research Insights ‘Speed Dating’ digital session taking place on 17 September.

The youth are responsible for a significant amount of consumer spend which is why this study is so valuable for marketers and brands. Yellowwood MD Refilwe Maluleke pointed out that a duality exists amongst the youth with many young people wanting to be part of culture, while at the same time wanting to be authentic. Theirs is a world of pretense and image versus a desire for authenticity and culture.

The goal of the GenNext survey, she explained, is to get behind the things young people say and understand what they really think, feel and do. “Ultimately, the aim of this study is to create a base of understanding of SA youth and help brands and businesses drive sustainable growth.”

GenNext’s historic two-pronged survey approach allows the research team to cover broad aspects around the youth market – and not just on brand preference but also through an understanding of category engagement and behavioural drives.

In terms of brand preference the survey ranks the coolest brands as voted by the youth across 69 categories. As far as youth behaviours are concerned, the survey includes a youth segmentation study with a focus on various category engagements and associated behaviour drivers.

Fieldwork for the GenNext study will commence in the latter half of February and is due to be completed by July, with the results available in September.

Watch the recording of digital launch here and to register for the next digital conversation taking place on the 11th of March on “How brands can ensure they are relatable to the youth.” Click here

For partnership opportunities please contact Cortney Hoyland ( on 011 280 3060.To advertise in the 2021 GenNext supplement please contact Debbie Montanari ( on 011 280 3538.