. Dec 15, 2023 . 6 minutes read
2023 has been an unforgettable year in the world of social media. From the pink revolution sparked by the Barbie movie (leading to a global shortage of pink paint!) to the ‘girl dinner’ phenomenon, viral trends on platforms like Instagram and TikTok have been influencing Gen Z over the last 12 months.
In collaboration with WGSN, Instagram’s Trend Talk unveiled a new set of insights from its survey that spanned across the UK, US, Brazil, India and South Korea, exploring topics, issues and trends that matter to Gen Z.
For marketers, these insights are invaluable, offering a greater understanding of what resonates with this audience and a glimpse at what we can expect to see trending in 2024.
Here are some of the key findings from the report:
Gen Z is obsessed with protecting the environment, focusing on sustainable shopping practices when it comes to fashion. Their top sustainable fashion practices include:
Buying Fewer New Clothes
Thrifting and Shopping Secondhand (IRL and online, using platforms such as Vinted and Depop)
Marketers have an opportunity to align with these trends by promoting sustainable practices and products, emphasising the versatility and longevity of their offerings, and supporting local and secondhand markets.
Gen Z’s focus lies heavily on individuality in fashion and beauty. Their priorities are as follows:
Getting more creative in the way they dress
Finding their signature scent
Identifying their own ‘core’ aesthetic.
Brands that celebrate personal style and offer customisable experiences will deeply resonate with them, especially those whose offerings help Gen Z to solve the above problems, such as finding their signature scent or dressing more creatively.
Gen Z is all about making meaningful connections when using social media, with the generation primarily using platforms to stay in touch with friends and family.
Marketers should consider this as part of their campaigns and aim to foster genuine interaction and community with their audiences. 2024 is all about creating more engaging and personalised user experiences.
Spanning between the ages of 11-26, Gen Z is the most single generation, with over 63% of survey respondents answering their relationship status as single.
Rather than exchanging phone numbers, Gen Z’s first move is to exchange Instagram handles when meeting someone new. Online personas and activities form a significant part of personal interactions for this generation.
Instagram's data revealed some of the biggest ‘icks’, with ‘chewing with your mouth open’ scoring the number one spot on the list.
Chewing with your mouth open.
Poor sense of humour or taste in memes.
Following your ex on Instagram.
Gen Z friendships are less about shared histories and more about shared values and understanding. The leading quality they seek in friends is the ability to share anything with them, followed by feeling fully understood by them.
Brands should integrate these to facilitate these deeper, more meaningful interactions via their social media marketing. Campaigns could focus on how their services help users express their true selves and be part of a community of like-minded people, resonating with Gen Z's desire for authentic connections.
One brand which does this well is R.E.M. Beauty.
Brought to life by Ariana Grande in 2021, R.E.M. Beauty was built on the vision that anybody and everybody should feel incredible and be given the tools they need to explore their creativity with makeup.
Before the brand had even launched, R.E.M. Beauty built a community by referring to both itself and its customers as the ‘R.E.M. Flight Crew’, in line with the Sci-Fi themed product design.
This made customers feel more connected to the brand and part of a ‘crew’ of like-minded individuals with the same passion for creativity.
The brand consistently engages with its ‘Crew’ online, not just by responding to Tweets and comments, but by reposting photos, videos and fan art to their stories and feeds and setting ‘missions’ for the Crew.
When R.E.M. Beauty first arrived in the UK, they hosted an interactive ‘R.E.M. Beauty Experience’ in the London & Trafford Centre Selfridges stores.
It was here that the Crew could really get involved by taking photos inside the spaceship themed set, playing the claw-grabber to win prizes and being the first to get their hands on the new products.
By bringing their customers together, both online and in person, and showing them appreciation, R.E.M. Beauty has built the ultimate loyal community.
In 2024, Gen Z is expected to focus heavily on self-improvement, luck, and being unapologetically themselves.
Brands can tap into this by aligning their messaging with themes of personal growth and how their product/service can help audiences with priorities such as staying healthy (exercise/diet), exploring a career path and travel.
Gen Z's growing interest in vegan and plant-based products is more than a dietary choice; it's a reflection of their values concerning health, environment, and sustainability.
Food and beverage companies can capitalise on this trend by expanding their plant-based offerings. Marketing strategies should not only highlight the health benefits of these products but also their environmental and ethical advantages.
Having grown up with influencers constantly pushing products, Gen Z can easily see through inauthentic content. Brands using influencers to help reach audiences should prioritise working with influencers that actually align with their brand, rather than big names that are willing to promote any product without actually trying it.
Audiences would rather see smaller creators producing UGC about brands and products they really love. Brands can then turn this content into ads and start ongoing partnerships formed from genuine customer interactions.
Gen Z loves being members of a fan army, with ¾ belonging to a fandom. Fandoms are generally related to TV shows, anime, musicians, or video games. This all links back to their love for being part of a community.
Passions run high and celebrities and influencers are not just admired but idolised. Gen Z's connection with these fandoms goes beyond mere entertainment; it's about finding a sense of belonging and identity.
Entertainment and media brands can dive into this trend by creating more immersive and interactive fan experiences. This could involve partnerships with popular influencers or celebrities that resonate with these fandoms, exclusive behind-the-scenes content, or fan-driven events and virtual meetups.
Brands should focus on marketing strategies that not only acknowledge these fandoms but celebrate them, creating a sense of partnership rather than just consumption.
Gen Z is set to continue its path as a generation of activists in 2024. They're not just talking about change; they're about making it happen. This demographic is keen on educating themselves and others, voting, and using social media as a tool for spreading awareness on critical issues.
From environmental concerns to social justice, Gen Z's activism is multifaceted and deeply integrated into their identity.
Brands looking to genuinely connect with Gen Z should consider how they can support these causes authentically. This might mean going beyond token gestures and really embedding social responsibility into their business models and practices.
2023 has seen companies being called out on social media for failing to speak out on issues that matter to Gen Z. Brands should aim to be allies in the causes Gen Z cares about, demonstrating commitment through actions like sustainable business practices, ethical sourcing, or supporting social initiatives.
Understanding and integrating trends into your marketing strategy is crucial for connecting with Gen Z. From embracing sustainability in fashion to authentic engagement through social media, the key is to remain true to your brand while aligning with the values of this dynamic demographic.
As marketers, it's time to start planning for 2024 with these insights in mind, ready to innovate and engage on social platforms. At Statuo, we’re always staying ahead of the latest trends and implementing them in client social media strategies.
If you’re looking to start greater connections with your audiences online, get in touch with our team of experts today.