In 30 seconds:
- It’s been a long time coming, so what will Gen Z’s Summer 2022 look like? We’re looking through the data to get a picture of their intentions.
- For marketers, understanding the Gen Z consumer trends 2022 is going to be key to shaping a campaign strategy that engages this important demographic.
- So from travel to careers, here’s everything we’re expecting Gen Z to get up to this summer.
The sun’s out, and Gen Z is ready to party.
It’s been a long wait for many of them. Some entered the pandemic awaiting school exams and are leaving it with a significant portion of their lives spent in lockdown.
That means they have a lot of lost time to make up for. With summer fast approaching, there’s no doubt that Gen Zers will be very aware of this. There’s an awful lot they want to be doing with their new freedom, and that means there are plenty of opportunities for marketers to reach them.
Brands who supply food and drink, events, beauty and fashion can expect to see business boom as Gen Z anticipates summer – both on and offline. That’s because this generation of digital natives uses social media more than any other group; most of these young consumers can’t remember living life without documenting it online.
Social media platforms are also key to how Generation Z connect with one another. More than half of this generation have friends that they only know online. After two years of social isolation, the digital world has come to the forefront for many young people, and it will inevitably continue to shape their worlds as summer makes a resurgence.
So we’ve searched through social trends, studies and news pieces to bring you our best predictions for Gen Z Summer 2022. Here’s what we’ve found.
Gen Z top trends 2022: What we already know
We already know that Gen Z are going to behave differently to previous generations – they’re already pushing the limits in several categories. This summer, marketers can expect to see Gen Z’s unique identity come to the forefront. So, before we jump into the trends, let’s answer one very important question: who even are Gen Z?
Who are Generation Z?
A Pew Research study analysed the generation of people loosely born after 1996 to discover how they are set apart from the previous generation of Millennials. The study found that, although there were several similarities (both generations lean largely liberal in social matters, for example), there were several instances in which Gen Z pushed ahead.
They’re on track to be the most educated generation in history, with fewer high-school dropouts, and more take-up of college/university studies. They’re also more likely to have a college-educated parent – 44% to Millennials‘ 33% in 2017.
Another element in which they’re leading the pack? Gen Z are the biggest consumer generation, with over $140 billion in spending power behind them.
Each of these elements has a significant impact on Gen Z’s behaviour – and as we head into the summer months, it’s clear that they mean Generation Z will continue to buck the trends.
What do Gen Z have planned for summer 2022?
Post-pandemic, life looks very different to how Gen Z might once have imagined, and the consequences have been far reaching. It has shaped this young generation of consumers, and its impact is visible in their ongoing behaviour, and the Gen Z consumer trends 2022 we’re expecting to see.
We’ve done our research, so here are the Gen Z summer 2022 top trends that marketers should be aware of:
Perhaps the most obvious of the upcoming trends – the travel industry is expecting to bounce back from Covid with the help of Gen Z travellers keen to make the trips they had to cancel over the past two years.
Pre-pandemic, Gen Zers were making almost as many trips as Millennials. Having been unable to travel during the pandemic, one study has already found that nearly two-thirds of Gen Z are intending to take “revenge travel” trips, and more than 70% of them intend to spend just as much, or more, on travel than pre-pandemic.
Marketers should be aware that 72% of Gen Z are planning to splash out on a really big trip in 2022 – meaning travel will surely feature prominently in their Summer 2022 schedules.
Read more about how travel brands can reach Gen Z in 2022.
Along with trips further afield, Gen Z are looking forward to welcoming festival season back this spring and summer.
In 2019, almost half of Gen Z said they’d recently attended a music festival. That’s a promising stat for the festival industry as they launch summer 2022’s timetable. In fact, this year the same number have said their summer plans centre around music festivals and concerts as they do seeing friends and family.
Marketers should be aware that, although they are digital-first, Gen Z are keen to search out memorable real-life experiences. They love interactive experiences, and they are aware that staying connected online is “no substitute for real human interaction.”
For this reason, music festivals and other outdoor adventures will prove very attractive to this experience-orientated generation.
For more information on how to market festivals to Gen Z, read our music festival marketing article.
Gen Z are rethinking their education goals. That’s according to a Forbes report which found that 45% of students are now inspired to consider a career in a STEM field, such as healthcare or science.
46% of Gen Z said that the pandemic had made it harder to pursue their educational goals; remote schooling, lessons over zoom and the associated limited social interaction undoubtedly had a huge impact on their experience of education.
But that doesn’t mean they aren’t huge fans of learning. Trends like #LearnOnTikTok have grown exponentially over the pandemic years, and it now sits at over 290 billion views. We’ve written more about TikTok and education here.
From catching up on lost school over the summer break, to making up for the lost celebrations of educational achievements, Gen Z’s summer 2022 will carry extra import as this group makes up for lost time.
For Gen Z, a key new trend for Summer 2022 will be seizing the opportunity to explore their educational to expand their horizons, and preparing to jump into more educational experiences.
There hasn’t been any global event in recent memory that brought with it such intense scrutiny of the political classes as the Coronavirus pandemic – and the younger generations have been paying attention. One study has found that, more than feeling simple frustration over the handling of the crisis, the pandemic has actually “radicalised” Gen Z.
There are a few reasons why. This generation of young people are financially savvy; 70% of them check their finances daily, and they are highly motivated to protect their savings to avoid the mistakes they’ve seen previous generations make. They already knew that they would be poorer than their parents, but the pandemic drove home a truth many young people were only just waking up to: their future is something they must fight for.
Many young people have expressed frustration that they were the generation expected to “bear the brunt” of the Covid fallout. And, asked to describe their post-Covid future, they described how they had “so many revolutions to lead.”
From climate change demonstrations to protests over racial injustice, Gen Z have quickly become known as the generation of changemakers. These young activists have weathered one storm only to discover several more on their collective horizons, and the popularity of political content online is proof that, even as they are able to turn some attention to partying and travelling again, their focus on political activity is not wavering.
Read more about the Gen Z Activists making a difference.
For last year and the year before, summer internships have been put on hold. One study found that 30% of US students had had their offers rescinded – with a potentially huge impact on their future careers.
Having triggered a wave of unemployment globally, the pandemic had a hugely negative effect on the job seekers market. That much is undisputed.
However, as a learning tool, it was arguably invaluable. Gen Z are emerging from the pandemic years with a new understanding that widespread workplace change can be inspired by disruption. Covid changed workplaces rapidly, with remote working established practically overnight, and now only 12% of workers want to move back to an office full time.
Something that might surprise you, though, is that Gen Z are among those who want to work from home the least. One study found that only 30% of Gen Z wanted to stay remote full time, while another reported that 40% would prefer fully in-person work.
It’s clearly a divisive topic amongst this generation soon leaving education. But for those whose attempts to enter the workforce were disrupted by the pandemic, finding a role with the right balance will be an important element of their summer – and indeed their future – plans.
Fashion brands will be pleased to know that the “summer wardrobe” is just as relevant a trend as ever.
Even during the period of lockdowns, Gen Z kept up to date with fashion trends. They watched digital runways, monitored designer collection releases, and watched fashion week influencer content as much as ever.
One change that has taken place is how Gen Z learn about the latest trends: overwhelmingly, they are discovering these through TikTok. Whereas 2020 saw an interest in “cottage core” in response to troubling times (who can forget the Loewe cardigan that TikTokers attempted to crochet themselves?), this year it’s pleated miniskirts inspired by Miu Miu.
It’s not just the Chanels, Balenciagas and Pradas of the world that are inspiring this group though: they’re a generation of thrifters, motivated to find trending items in a more eco-conscious way – and they’re documenting it on TikTok.
To read more about fashion on TikTok, read our guide for fashion brands on TikTok here.
Gen Z do have some specific, overarching tastes. One big one: gender fluidity. Gen Z have embraced gender-fluid style, and they’re looking to support brands who can offer them both genderless style, and allyship.
Another Gen Z trend with significant sticking power is nostalgia. 66% are attracted to items that tap nostalgic feelings, and 83% enjoy seeing nostalgic content on social media. This speaks to Gen Z’s love of vintage fashion. This is something designers should leverage; fashion trends are circulating back to Y2K fashion (style from the 2000s), with tiny sunglasses, low-rise silhouettes, and butterfly clips gracing social media feeds. L’Officiel has also predicted that this summer will see “glitchcore” (a pixelated style of clashing and retro, technological patterns) becoming more popular, too.
There’s more to learn about Gen Z and fashion – hear it here.
Gen Z were the group most mentally affected by the pandemic. More Gen Zers reported suffering from pandemic-related stress than any other age group, with 68% of them saying that the pandemic had made them feel anxious or depressed.
That said, young people are more self-aware about mental health issues than previous generations – and they take more steps to protect their mental health, too.
This was evident on platforms like TikTok throughout the pandemic. Fanbytes data found that TikTok posts that mentioned “mental health” grew significantly in 2020, and the numbers continue to rise. The #MentalHealth tag now has over 33 billion views – surpassing tags the platform is basically synonymous with, like #DanceChallenge (which has only 32 billion).
Read more about what brands need to know about TikTok and Mental Health.
Given their education on mental health matters, the chance to decompress in summer 2022 will likely see many young people prioritising self care.
Tips for brands
Post-pandemic, there’s a lot on Generation Z’s horizon this summer.
We’re entering the “boom” after the “bust” of the last two years’ social calendars, which means plenty of opportunities for brands.
And while Gen Z may be focusing on experiences in the “real world” this summer, there’s still no better way to reach them than online. Remember, a huge 45% of them report being online “constantly”, and 98% of all Gen Zers own a smartphone.
So, whatever your niche, taking to social media is still the best way to reach this generation – whether you’re showing off the latest glitchcore minidress, or encouraging them through a long-awaited internship.
Getting inside the mindset of Gen Z is our specialty, so if you’re looking to reach them in summer 2022, you’ve come to the right place, If you’d like to learn more about how we can make your brand the top trend of Gen Z’s summer 2022, get in contact.
Hungry for more information about marketing to Gen Z this summer? Check out the links below: