For Generation Z, iPhone, Apple have the most buzz while Coke and Pepsi are fizzling

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For retailers, Generation Z is a force to be reckoned with.

The post-Millennial group, generally regarded as the 86 million people born between 1997 and 2016, is expected to represent 40 percent of all shoppers by 2020, and currently influences $600 billion of family spending.

When it comes to what's hot—and what's not—chatter matters. Conversations, both through social media and in person, spark 19 percent of purchases, according to Engagement Labs, a data and analytics company that helps marketers.

"You see an advertisement, people know it's a paid endorsement," says Brad Fay, Engagement Labs chief commercial officer. "It's only got so much credibility....The most powerful messages are ones that come from someone you know."

Based on surveys of 6,736 teens over 12 months that asked them what they spoke about in the previous 24 hours, Engagement Labs found that the top talkers were the gadgets, beverages and snack foods that bring young people together.

"One of the things we find about Generation Z is it's an incredibly social generation," Fay says. While Apple and Samsung create devices that allow teens to connect, "Coca Cola, McDonalds and Pepsi are all brands you typically consume with other people face to face, so they, too, could be thought of as social brands."

But the popularity of some products may be waning with this health-conscious group. The percentage of talking about Pepsi on an average day has plunged 49 percent since 2013. Coke slipped 21 percent in the same time period.

"Both Coke and Pepsi are taking significant declines," Fay says, "and I think that is symptomatic of a shift away from the more sugary types of beverages toward a wider diversity of healthier types of beverages." McDonald's also experienced a slight 2 percent dip.

Here are the brands that generate the most buzz.

Gen Z's Top Eight:

1. iPhone 18 percent

2. Apple 15 percent

3. Coke 14.6%

4. Samsung 12.1%

5. Nike 11.2%

6. McDonald's 11%

7. Walmart 7.9%

8. Pepsi 6.3%

*Percentages reflect the number of teenagers who speak about the on an average day.

What products are you and your friends talking about most? Share it with us on social

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