The top 3 trends that will define summer 2022 for Gen Z

Swimming pool with a beach ball in it

If there’s one thing Gen Z students are excited for this year, it’s summer. The last two years haven’t quite gone to plan, so this year, Gen Z are looking forward to living their best lives. Get to grips with the top trends for summer 2022 – and get ready to help young consumers reclaim the summer. 

‘The summer of ‘69’ – tapping into nostalgia

Gen Z are big fans of nostalgia. Whether that’s nostalgia for their own childhoods, or from a time before they were even born, nostalgia has become a huge trend for this generation – and it’s one that brands have tapped into in recent years; the Converse x Space Jam, Primark x Disney, and Bratz x Revolution partnerships are just some of the recent examples. 

Our research reveals that 66% of 16-24s are drawn to items that tap into nostalgia, and 83% enjoy seeing nostalgic content on social media. For brands looking to drive Gen Z revenue, summer is the perfect time to introduce this trend into your social media marketing and product offering, because the 12-week-long period presents a lot of fond memories for students who are only just transitioning into adulthood. 

pink raspberry popsicle sticks

But what type of nostalgic content will pull on Gen Z’s heartstrings? For students, this summer will be all about embracing nostalgia for summers past. Eating their favorite popsicle sticks, listening to old-school tunes, watching High School Musical 2 and fashioning crocs with mom shorts and crop tops will be the whole vibe for 2022. 

Summer 2022: the year for travel

This summer, travel is back on the cards – and Gen Z students are excited for it. At least 66% of 16-24s in the US are most looking forward to traveling this summer, and 82% expect to take between 1-4 trips over the vacation period. 

“I know I’ve got the travel bug, so I definitely want to get out and do some more traveling this year” –  Bailey, Business major from California 

When shopping for travel and accommodation for summer, 94% say affordable price is important. 84% also list good reviews as a key factor in their decision making, and over 70% say student incentives and buying from a trustworthy brand are important. 

With trust being such a crucial factor for young consumers, especially when purchasing big-ticket items like travel, it’s important that brands in this sector position themselves as a student-facing brand by creating relatable content, offering exclusive deals for students, and highlighting your most positive reviews on your website.

Woman taking a picture by the sea

Of course, going on a vacation requires more than just travel and accommodation. Students will most certainly be on the lookout for fashion, beauty, places to eat and things to do when planning their trip. 

Rest and recharge – Mental health 

68% of students said the pandemic has made them feel anxious or depressed. For many, summer signals a time to relax and enjoy nature, but dealing with a pandemic over all the usual student stresses like the student debt crisis and cost of living, has certainly taken its toll on a lot of students these past two years. 

“This summer, I’m looking forward to finding some time to just de-stress and have a moment for myself away from my education, and finding some time to get away and do some stuff that I haven’t been able to do.” – Lacey, Performing Arts student studying in Los Angeles 

With the pandemic being less of a threat at present, students really can look forward to a normal summer this year – one that involves travel, events, fun with loved ones and lots of self care. As a brand, it’s important to incorporate mental health awareness into your summer campaign messaging to help encourage students to relax and unwind as the academic year comes to an end.

The summer vacation period is coming thick and fast. Learn how you can tap into Gen Z’s sense of adventure with our webinar, Staying Relevant in the World of Gen Z, with special guests Domino’s, Contiki and HelloFresh. 

Gen Z and the Future of Ecommerce

Access the interactive report