Gen Z Blog

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Get ready for Black Friday 2022

person holding a 50% off sale tag

Here, we highlight four themes that all brands need to be aware of ahead of Black Friday 2022 – especially when it comes to Gen Z.

Brands, it’s that time again – time to start thinking about Black Friday, Cyber Monday and all the shopping days in between.

Encompassing Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the transaction-fuelled days surrounding them, the ‘Cyber Week’ shopping event has reached stratospheric heights in recent years.

This year, the cost-of-living crisis and impact of rising inflation will play an influential role over what Gen Z spend their cash on. However with 77% of US and 73% of UK students planning to splash the cash this Black Friday, we’ve no doubt that Gen Z will be retail ready. The question is, will your brand be? 

We’re here to guide you through – with a round-up of key themes for the fall shopping period according to Gen Z students. Let’s get started.

Tis’ the season for Gifting

Did you know most students actually kick off their holiday shopping early? By the end of November, 75% of US and 69% of UK students have started shopping for the holidays. This makes Black Friday a pivotal moment for Gen Z gifters.

With so many students on the lookout for holiday gifts for their loved ones, the fall shopping period is the time when they’re likely to tread outside of their usual spending categories.

“Cyber Week is pretty big for me because I try to actually get all my Christmas shopping done in that 1-3 days span. Come December, I can just enjoy the holidays and have everything ready.” – Bailey, Business Major from California

And with the cost-of-living crisis hanging over them, students are on the hunt for some serious bargains. 99% of students will look to use student discounts for their Black Friday and Cyber Week purchases in 2022. In particular, 84% of UK and 90% of US students will be searching for additional student discount they can apply on top of Cyber Week sales items – whilst 79% of UK and 85% of US students will be looking for higher than usual student discounts.

By supporting students through the impact from rising inflation, you’ll begin to develop brand loyalty that lasts a lifetime.

The retail experience

In a post-COVID world, the retail experience as we know it is certain to change to incorporate the physical with the digital – to nurture new habits formed during the pandemic.

They might be digital natives, but 44% of UK and 53% of US students prefer to mix up their online and in-store shopping during Black Friday – so brands with an online or in-store presence will need to step up their game this year to stand out. Be sure to get active on social media, and try incorporating real-life reviews or AR technology onto your site. For high street retailers, now is your time to get digital – try LED lights, tablets, QR codes, Instagram lives – there’s plenty of scope to get creative.

Luxury purchases

Retail events like Cyber Monday and Black Friday are a go-to for young consumers looking to purchase high ticket items – in fact, more than a third of students list saving money on luxury items as a top priority when shopping during this season. With the average college student having a disposable income of around 60% to spend on discretionary items, and with Black Friday falling at the end of the month, students will be gearing up for a post-payday shopping spree to bag themselves a deal on high-value items like tech, entertainment and travel. Brands in this sector should be building a buzz around their offering ahead of time to get Gen Z consumers excited.

“Around Black Friday, I’m looking for the expensive brands that I know that I can’t afford year round. That’s when I act like a queen!” – Julz, chemical engineering student from New Jersey


Since the pandemic, young consumers have become even more concerned about climate change and making sustainable choices – which in turn impacts their purchasing power.

Research by the Student Beans insights agency, Voxburner, has found that 77% of 16-24s would be more inclined to by from a brand if they make sustainable choices.

Remember, this consumer cohort likes to research in advance, not only to secure the best deals, but to make sure they are spending mindfully on something they really want or need. Social media is a great way to highlight your brand’s sustainability efforts to Gen Z digital natives – or indeed any support for a good cause.

Want to learn more about students’ approach to Black Friday in 2022? Visit the Student Beans Black Friday Hub!

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