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Your Guide To Festive Marketing For Students

The holiday season is officially upon us, and we couldn’t be more excited.

As we approach December and brands ramp up their marketing tactics in the lead-up to Christmas, our latest blog takes a deep dive into the best ways for brands to engage with Gen Z this festive season. We’ll share ways your brand can increase conversions in a time where the cost-of-living crisis is having a marked effect on almost everything.

Read the room…

Despite this year being the first Christmas in two years to be untainted by COVID (or so we hope!), it’s not all festive joy and indulgence. The cost-of-living crisis has seen inflation hit a 41-year high, with many scaling back the amount they’re spending on presents to settle for a sensible, affordable Christmas. This is reflected in our Student Beans user survey, with a staggering 78% of students planning to cut back on their festive spending. 
In order to reach student demographics this Christmas, incentivizing their purchases is key. By offering student discounts across your products, your brand will be able to drive loyalty, with 85% of students saying that the experience they have with a brand during their time at university is likely to influence where they shop or what they buy in the future. In these tough and uncertain times, students will appreciate knowing that your brand has gone the extra mile to make your products more affordable – and in turn, they’ll spread the word.

A greener christmas?

Research conducted in a report by the Student Beans insights agency, Voxburner, ‘Gen Z or Generation Green?’, showed that 77% of those aged 16-24 would be more inclined to buy from a brand if the brand makes sustainable choices. Sustainable alternatives to fast fashion have exploded onto the Gen Z scene, with brands such as TALA recently raising a massive $5.7 million in funding on their mission to bring sustainable and affordable activewear into the mainstream. We know affordability is also on the forefront of the minds of many young consumers, with 60% of Gen Z surveyed by Voxburner asserting that cheap prices are the most important factor for them when purchasing.


a more concious Black Friday? it’s hard to make more sustainable choices, sustainability means so many different things to different people…it can be overwhelming to think about – but making small changes and conscious choices can move us all towards creating positive change in the industry. #weareTALA #teamTALA #sustainableactivewear #ethicalfashion #consciousconsumer

♬ I Think I Like When It Rains – WILLIS

This traction has also been driven by mainstream media and influencers, with Love Island announcing their partnership with eBay in 2022, and influencers such as Tasha Ghouri and Venetia La Manna renouncing fast fashion.

Find Gen Z where they are

Gen Z are digital natives, with almost all of this generation using social media and the internet to inform their buying decisions. As a result, brands should focus on advertising or promoting via platforms such as TikTok and Instagram. TikTok in particular is a great platform to focus your efforts, with a whopping 54% of Gen Zers admitting they’d purchased a product after seeing it on TikTok. 

To reach your target audience this Christmas, capitalise on trending sounds, hashtags and relevant themes that are driving traction on the app. Popular themes utilised by brands include an unboxing of products and tutorials – the latter of which was recently used by make-up brand Charlotte Tilbury, who worked with Gen Z influencer Abby Roberts to showcase the different looks that could be developed by using their products. 

You can learn more about how brands can use TikTok trends to amplify their presence here.

The Influenced Generation

Influencer marketing has become one of the most important ways to reach Gen Z, and this Christmas, is a crucial strategy for your brand to get noticed. Brands such as Pretty Little Thing partnered recently with Love Island stars Gemma Owen and Indiyah Pollack for exclusive collections. As a result the stars promoted PLT’s clothing to their millions of followers, culminating in almost instantaneous sell-outs. Influencer marketing isn’t just a quick win – it’s a long term strategy, and has also been responsible for complete brand over-hauls. One example is Superdry’s investment into influencers, increasing the number of partnerships from 200 to 2,000 in the last 12 months, and working alongside creators such as Jordan Riane and Jayde Pierce to drive brand awareness.

The importance of User Generated Content

Utilising user generated content (UGC) is an essential for brands to reach Gen Z this Christmas, with many young consumers drawing their festive inspiration from what they’re seeing online. UGC is any kind of content created by a user and shared across social media. Gen Z, more than any other generation, values authenticity – so seeing products in an up-close-and-personal way is influential on their purchasing decisions. UGCt has been used by clothing brands such as Motel Rocks to show audiences how their favourite influencers (including Hailey Bieber!) style certain outfits.


Queen @Hailey Bieber in our Chute Trousers – back soon 🫶

♬ original sound – MOTEL

It has also been a valuable strategy across almost every other brand sector – skincare brand Glossier’s TikTok page is populated heavily with user generated content; and with a following of over 300k on this platform alone, it’s clear this kind of content is resonating well. 

Want to learn more about the emerging ‌Gen Z trends ‌that‌ ‌every‌ ‌marketer‌ ‌should‌ ‌be‌ ‌aware ‌ ‌of? Our infographic covers everything from changing shopping behaviours, where students get their festive inspiration and‌ affordability in the wake of a cost-of-living crisis. Download our Festive Marketing to Students: Cheat Sheet here.

Drive your biggest growth yet this Festive Season

Access insight-packed infographics, reports, blogs and more to fuel your holiday campaigns