Gen Z in 2022: four key predictions

girl stands in front of colourful display

From cancel culture to consumer-controlled trends, find out exactly what Gen Zs’ world will look like over the next twelve months. 

Financial wellness will come into focus 

Older Gen Zs have lived through some precarious financial times. Thanks to the financial crash of 2018 to the COVID-induced unpredictability of the past two years, their student years have been defined by money issues.  

2022 will see a new cohort of Gen Z college students graduate and enter the workforce. And, as vocal disruptors with a strong track record of holding authority figures to account, they could be the colleagues that normalize disclosing salary and requesting pay rises. 

Outside of work, we will see Gen Zs exhibiting the financial savviness we know them for – offering peer-to-peer advice on everything from side-projects to budgeting. In the same way that Gen Zs have challenged the stigma around discussing mental health, so too they will bring financial health to the fore. 

Cancel culture will put accountability front and center

For as long as there have been communities, there has been a culture of public condemnation for wrongdoings – which makes it all the more strange that Gen Zs alone have become synonymous with cancel culture. 

Indeed, the past few years have been fraught with the push and pull of the cancel culture debate – and 2022 has started with a fresh focus on the controversial actions of certain influencers. Some commentators are all for it. Others argue that it can actually backfire – giving supposedly “de-platformed” individuals a brand-new audience, and with it, a fresh income stream. A third argument purports that varying degrees of “cancellation” are needed – one size does not fit all. 

Regardless, cancel culture has become so normalized that PR firms offer specialized crisis management services as standard. This begs the question – if someone can pay a third party to soften their public denouncement, how effective can canceling actually be?

Now, as Gen Zs do what they do best – get critical about the world they’ve inherited – we can expect to see them interrogating cancel culture with a depth and honesty we’ve not seen before. Far from watching someone disappear from public view only to reappear quietly a few months later, Gen Zs will be looking for sustained accountability and positive change. 

Gen Z will become Generation Rent – but not in that way 

When we talk about generation rent, we usually refer to millennials – saddled with a housing crisis that puts the lowest rung of the property ladder just out of reach. 

Gen Zs, too, will have to contend with unaffordable housing, but there is a scant silver lining to living in a world where renting is normalized.

 Over the past few years, clothing and tech rentals have ebbed in and out of the mainstream. We have millennials to thank for the popularity of rental brands – Hurr and Onloan to name just two. The aesthetics tend to be anchored in a millennial world, but the principles of combatting throwaway culture, emphasis on quality and commitment to sustainability are distinctly Gen Z. 

Gen Zs have a completely different take on luxury to their predecessors – they’ll be looking for a rental solution that loops in the brands they covet, the aesthetics they enjoy, and the ecommerce formats they’re used to. With its Depop-esque social feed and TikTok-trend aesthetics, Loanhood is an early adopter that could very well go viral in 2022. 

If you’ve found yourself scrolling through TikTok recently, you’ve likely stumbled across at least one video interrogating the trend cycle. As a cohort, Gen Z are hyper-aware of how trends work – and they might just be about to break the cycle. 

Trends can be purported by a celebrities, luxury brands or fast-fashion giants, but in all cases they’re inextricably linked to ethics and values. Gen Zs have critiqued trends that appropriate cultures or favor a certain body type. 2022 will bring even higher levels of criticism. 

Certain trends – such as the Indie Sleaze and Twee aesthetics first popularized by Tumblr bloggers in the 2010s – are being shut down before they even return. TikTokers are drawing attention to the damage these trends did to body image – they’re hijacking and rejecting the forecasts before they even hit the shelves. 

There’s also an argument that the trend cycle should not exist at all – having accelerated to the point where its unsustainable. In short? Gen Zs could change the face of fashion forever. 

Ready for Gen Z to fall in love with your brand in 2022? We’ve got just the webinar for you.

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