Nostalgia is super important to young people. It’s especially poignant in today’s world, because looking back allows them to identify with a time before. Not just before the pandemic, but also other events that have defined a generation, like 9/11 and the student debt crisis.

For Gen Z students, this summer will be all about embracing nostalgia for summers past. Eating their favorite popsicle sticks, listening to old-school tunes, fashioning crocs with mom shorts and crop tops will be the whole vibe for 2022. Fashion, beauty and food brands have a real opportunity here to tap into these trends.

Remember, Gen Z nostalgia isn’t just about revisiting the summers of their own childhood. Today’s young people are also interested in fashion and trends from a time before they were even born. The remake of nineties hit Space Jam and the rebirth of seventies fashion in their favorite stores are just some examples that highlight Gen Zs’ strong affinity for the ‘good old days’.


Travel is a sector that was massively impacted by the pandemic. Now, things are looking up, and for summer 2022, travel is on everyone’s radar – including Gen Z students. After all, this demographic has missed out on a lot of key milestones like high school graduation and their first spring break vacation with friends. Gaining back their independence in the form of travel and adventure will be a high priority.

“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

Which of these are important when shopping for vacation travel and accommodation?

Affordable price


Good reviews


Student discounts


Trustworthy brand


Ethical company


“My big thing this year is that I want to do a little bit of traveling – even if it’s just roadtrips. I love seeing new places.”

Animation and Media 
student from Arizona

That’s why 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 break. Our research reveals that 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 is important.

Clearly, trust is an important factor for young consumers, as 81% also say they get ideas of where to go and how to book their summer vacations from friends and family recommendations. But, 52% also rely on Google, 44% on travel vlogs, and 27% on social media ads.

How do you get ideas of where to go and how to book for your summer vacations?

81% – Friends/family recommendations
52% – Google
44% – Travel video/vlogs
27% – Social media ads
21% – Brand posts on social media
19% – Visiting a brand’s website
10% – TV adverts
Events and activities

As well as the year for travel, summer 2022 is the year for adventure – which is where events and activities come in.

For Gen Z, this summer will be about making every day count and making up for the last two summers that haven’t quite gone to plan. The summer break is the best time to do all of the things that often take a backseat during semester time. Attending festivals, gigs, amusement parks, eating out, giving obstacle courses a go, and having fun at pool parties and beach BBQs are just some of the things that will be keeping them busy over the summer period.

Of course, some events, festivals and activities require pre-planning and booking, and you can guarantee that a lot of students will be savvy when it comes to booking because no one wants to miss out this year. Brands in these sectors should make sure they’re promoting any offers they might be running well in advance.

What are you looking forward to doing during the 2022 summer holiday period?

77% – Seeing friends and family
68% – Taking time away from education
66% – Going on vacation
57% – Going to events
49% – Eating out at restaurants
44% – Buying a new summer wardrobe

“For event tickets and stuff that’s scheduled or pre-planned for the summer, I usually try to save one to two months in advance, but there’s been some times where I’ll sporadically buy event tickets if it’s not sold out.”

Bailey, Business major from California

Mental health

Of course, among all the excitement for summer and getting back to normal vacation activities like travel and festivals, summer 2022 will also be a time for students to relax and reconnect with themselves. For many young people, the pandemic has caused their mental health to suffer. Today’s students are already dealing with stresses like the student debt crisis, so adding a pandemic on top of that has certainly taken its toll on many students.

This summer, with the pandemic being less of a threat thanks to encouraging vaccine uptake and milder variations of the virus, students have a real opportunity to spend some time on themselves, away from their studies and away from the pandemic. 68% of students are excited to take some time out from their education this summer. As a brand, it’s important to incorporate mental health awareness into your messaging – help encourage students to relax and unwind.

“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 while in school.”

Lacey, Performing Arts student studying in Los Angeles

68% of students said the pandemic has made them feel anxious or depressed

Social media

Gen Z are creators in their own right, and social media is their ultimate creative outlet. This summer, #HotGirlSummer is coming back bigger and better, so expect to see students shouting about all the fun they’re having on their favorite social media platforms – Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat.

In the lead-up and even during summer, a lot of students also turn
to social media for things like outfit inspiration, travel vacation ideas and more. For ideas on what fashion items to buy for the summer break, 58% get inspiration from what brands post on social media, 56% watch clothing hauls or vlogs, and 51% get ideas from social media ads.

As a brand, social media is your chance to get on board with Gen Z students. Tapping into the influencer world is just the ticket. While celebrity influencers tend to generate mistrust among Gen Z, micro and nano-influencers are more embedded in Gen Zs’ communities – and more likely to weave your brand into Gen Zs’ feeds with
more authenticity.

Social platforms used most often by students:

74% – Use Instagram every day
63% – Use Snapchat every day
55% – Use TikTok every day
47% – Use YouTube every day
34% – Use Twitter every day
24% – Use Facebook every day
13% – Use Pinterest every day

Making a name for yourself on Gen Zs’ favorite platforms is also important – 56% would like to see more brands showcasing new products on TikTok. Snapchat, another favorite channel among Gen Z students, has made it possible for brands to create shoppable AR filters. Data from Snapchat reveals that users engage with the platform’s AR features more than 6 million times a day, and 93% of its users (a large proportion of which are Gen Z) are interested in using augmented reality for shopping purposes. Make sure you’re taking advantage of what’s available to you!

“I follow a lot of fashion Instagram accounts that are geared towards college students and the younger generation, to see what’s going on in our fashion world, to see the different trends that are coming back. I also tend to pull from Pinterest for ideas of things that I would be comfortable wearing and feel confident in.”

Lacey, Performing Arts student

studying in Los Angeles

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