The most distinctively rural and urban brands in America
May 31st, 2024, Clifton Mark

The most distinctively rural and urban brands in America

A new report from YouGov explores how brand preferences differ among rural and urban audiences. Instead of simply showing which brands are more widely considered, the report shows the brands that stand out most between rural and city representative groups.

We ranked brands across cars, consumer packaged goods, retail, and more to reveal the biggest differences in purchase consideration between the rural dwellers versus city dwellers.

Car preferences: Urbanites choose luxury, rural Americans choose trucks

Urban and rural Americans are united on some car brands. A third of both city (33%) and rural (34%) dwellers would consider buying a Toyota, and just under a quarter would consider a Honda (24% vs. 22%), making these the two most considered carmakers in the country.

However, they differ significantly when it comes to other vehicle manufacturers. Examining the differences in Consideration between urban and rural audiences reveals that brand preferences that distinguish one audience from another.

Rural-based consumers prefer carmakers with strong truck associations. Nearly a third (29%) of rural Americans would consider buying a Chevy, compared to 21% of city dwellers, making Chevrolet the most distinctively carmaker in rural America. Other brands with strong truck associations such as Ford, Ram, GMC and GM are also popular with rural consumers.

City dwellers, by contrast, are more than twice likely to consider buying luxury brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Audi and Porsche. Lexus is considered by 12% of city dwellers compared to 7% of rural dwellers.

Understand the rural/urban divideDownload full report

Food brands: Betty Crocker vs. Beyond Meat

Cake-mix classic Betty Crocker is rural America’s distinctly favorite food brand. About two fifths would consider buying Betty Crocker (41%) compared to 27% of city dwellers. Two other General Mills-owned baking brands, Bisquick and Pillsbury, also made the top five.

KitKat is the most distinctive urban food brand, with a Purchase Consideration of 43% among city dwellers compared to 33% among rural-based audiences.

City dwellers also are twice as likely as rural dwellers to consider buying plant-based meat replacement brands Beyond Meat (11% vs. 5%) and Impossible Foods (11% vs. 5%).

Wrangler vs. Nike: Rural and urban fashion sensibilities

Wrangler, the traditional denim brand, is more popular among rural Americans than urban Americans, with 33% of consumers in rural areas willing to consider purchasing -Wranglers next time they shop, compared to 19% of those in cities. Hanes, Skechers, and Fruit of the Loom are also comparative country favorites.

Urban Americans are more likely to consider sportwear brands Nike (41% vs. 24%) and Adidas (34% vs. 20%). Fast-fashion giants H&M and Zara are also much more widely considered in the city than in the country. This is likely related to availability, with storefronts scarcer in rural areas.

Understand the psychographic, demographic and behavioral differences between rural and urban AmericansDownload the full report