Gen Z spending: spring break edition

girl wearing sunglasses stood in front of a yellow wall

Tap into our Gen Z insights to see which verticals students will be spending in during this year’s spring break. 

Spring break is a prime time for brands to engage with students. But for the last two years, spring break hasn’t exactly gone to plan as a result of Covid-19 restrictions. This year, students will be making up for lost time – ensuring that they use their spring break wisely. 

Whether that means heading to a party vacation spot, taking on a volunteer project, or spending time with their family back home, you can guarantee they’ll be counting on their disposable income to make the most of their time off. 

Our student research pinpoints exactly where they’ll be spending their dollars and what this means for your brand’s Gen Z marketing strategy. 

Spring break 2022: the year for travel 

As mentioned, spring break 2020 and 2021 wasn’t quite what students were expecting. For many, the week-long break is the perfect excuse to take a trip with friends or family, however, as we all know, the travel industry was one of the hardest hit sectors during the height of the pandemic. 

This certainly put a downer on spring break plans since travel tends to play a big role during this time – at least 41% say they spend money on this sector during spring break. 

open suitcase displaying a laptop, clothes, sunglasses and sandals

This year, things are looking more positive. 71% of students are feeling optimistic or excited about spring break, and 58% are planning to hop on a plane for a vacation. 55% also hope to enjoy a road trip during the vacation period. 

Our research shows that affordability is a top priority when students are shopping for travel or accommodation, so you can guarantee they’ll be drawn towards the brands with the best deals and incentives. Something to keep in mind! 

The return of events and experiences 

As well as travel, students are looking forward to getting back to events and enjoying in-person experiences during spring break. In fact, almost half of college students (46%) say they spend their money on this vertical over the spring break period. 

Activities include visiting an amusement park, which 43% plan to do, attending a festival or live music event, which 36% hope to do during spring break, and going to a party, BBQ or sports event. Demand for ticketed events and activities will no doubt be high this year, so brands in these sectors should make an effort to promote offers early to get students onboard and excited. 

Of course, not every student will be as organized, so be sure to have some marketing plans in place for those looking to make last minute plans for the week. 

audience at a gig

Fashion and food

Spring break presents an opportunity for students to spend on more than just travel and events – in fact, it actually crosses over multiple sectors due to the variety of ways students spend the week-long period. 

Whether students are going on vacation, volunteering, working, heading home or staying on-campus, sectors like fashion, food, health and beauty, and tech all have a role to play. In fact, we’ve learnt that more students (71%) spend money on food compared to any other sector, and 60% plan to go to restaurants over spring break. Meanwhile, a substantial 45% spend money on health and beauty, and 43% spend money on fashion. Overall, shopping is the most favored activity for students to do during spring break – 62% plan on shopping at some point during the break. 

For brands in these sectors, incentives and social media giveaways are two of the best ways you can reach Gen Z student consumers in the run up to spring break. Remember to consider your audience and what items they will be wanting to buy during this time when promoting specific products. For example, students going on vacation somewhere hot will want items like bathing suits, sunscreen, sunglasses and beach towels, while those heading on a volunteer program may require things like outdoor shoes, tech and stationery. 

Have you saved your seat for our upcoming spring break webinars? Tune into our student panel for even more insight into this crucial retail period, and put what you’ve learned into practice with our spring break masterclass

Gen Z and the Future of Ecommerce

Access the interactive report