Students know full well that 2021 won’t mean the end of COVID-19. But like most of the world, they’re excited to put the past year behind them, tentatively stepping into a fresh start. Here’s an early glimpse of what they’re excited about.
1. Manifest those fitness goals
At the start of 2020, around 75% of Gen Zs made some form of fitness new years’ resolution. Then a global pandemic happened. Gym closures, limited exercise options and general uncertainty meant that most of those new years’ resolutions went unrealized. Over 60% of Gen Zs in both the US and UK say that they’ve been exercising less since the pandemic began. What the pandemic has given us is a much-needed dose of body positivity and creative home workout options. These values sit well with Gen Z – who are both ethical and digitally native – and they’ll be on the lookout for inclusive, digital ways to pick up on their fitness resolutions during 2021. Fitness marketers, take note!
2. Put ethics first
2020 has proven just how values-driven Gen Zs are. They might not have had the chance to get out much, but from their homes, they’ve educated themselves and their peers on environmental concerns and they’ve been trailblazers in taking the Black Lives Matter movement to an international scale, to name just two critical issues. It’s impossible to summarise the energy and fight that 16-24-year-olds have brought to activism in this past year – but it’s no doubt something that they’re fully intending to carry forward into 2021 and beyond.
3. Start a mental health revolution
Today’s young people are already more frank and honest about their mental health than any generation before them. So it’s not surprising that one of the most interesting takes on mental health comes directly from Gen Z , who have been raised on a recent discourse of “talking about mental health”, and this has in fact been normalized in certain online and offline circles. Gen Z are now calling upon their older peers to be authentic in their attitudes to mental health – and to bring about tangible means of supporting them through mental health issues. And all the while, they’re continuing to champion the global campaign for better mental health awareness.
4. Be financially secure
Unlike their Millenial cousins, Gen Zs are less likely to splash out on something new just because it would make them happy. In fact, Gen Z spending is strongly grounded in quality and affordability. A significant 39% of UK students stick to a budget, and many young student insiders we’ve spoken to use budget apps and journals to keep track of their spend. To make it into that budget, you’ll need to convince them that they’ll be getting value for money.
5. New year, new normal
Whether they’re new or returning, students have had their own unique struggles during COVID-19. From starting a degree program during lockdown to grappling with Zoom graduations, it’s been a year to remember – and not always for good reasons. But throughout 202, Gen Zs have exhibited that resilience they’re known for, with the majority of new students heading off to uni in spite of the pandemic. They’ve responded with humor and good spirits – and no doubt they’re fully ready to embrace whatever challenges 2021 has in store for them.
Start your 2021 off right by engaging with the next generation of student consumers. Our New Year, New Habits guide launches soon. Sign up for our newsletter to be one of the first to read it.