Self-improvement and sustainability are the two key focus areas for Gen Z audiences in the year ahead, according to Meta.
The data points from Instagram Trend Talk cover fashion and beauty, social media, dating, friendships, and wellness from a global perspective and indicate how such trends make their way to Australian audiences.
The year ahead will see Gen Zs lead the charge in sustainable fashion practices such as buying fewer new clothes, repeating outfits, shopping locally, thrifting, and second-hand shopping online or in-store.
On a global scale, the tech company’s data found the top trend in 2024 is modest dressing, followed by making old things new through thrifting, vintage, and heirloom. Third was repeating outfits, followed by wearing clothes in unexpected ways and DIY clothing.
Helen Black, Meta’s head of connection planning for Australia and New Zealand, told Mediaweek the report highlights Gen Zs are “setting the trends” and using Instagram to express themselves.
“Gen Z will DM their friends looks and use features like Close Friends to share their favourite things with a small, intimate group of people they trust.
Individuality will be a key trend in the fashion and beauty space. The data from Meta revealed that nearly 1/3 of Gen Z say they want to be more creative with how they dress.
The data also found that Gen Zs want to build their own ‘core’ aesthetic with clothes they are comfortable in. It found that people across surveyed countries agree they want their clothing choices to express comfort.
A new hairstyle was a favourite beauty tip younger Australians learned from social media, followed by skincare. Meanwhile, shaved eyebrows are out of style.
On the rise are fragrance creators, with over 1/4 of Gen Z planning to express themselves by discovering a signature scent in 2024.
For advertisers looking to leverage these trends, Black said that a brand’s values strongly drive Gen Z audiences.
“Businesses need to show that they care about the environment, and ones that do can connect with audiences, particularly Gen Z.
She noted that the current cost of living crisis impacts Gen Zs and that brands need to show the value they add to younger Australians.
“Gen Zs want to support local businesses too, to support thriving communities, useful for SMBs to show their local proposition.”
Data from the Instagram Trend Talk earmarked 2024 as Gen Z’s “growth era” centred on the themes: Self-Improvement or Development, Lucky and Unapologetically Myself.
Meta’s global data revealed that Gen Z’s top three priorities for the year ahead are to stay healthy (through exercise and a healthy diet), explore a career path, and travel.
The data also highlighted that Gen Zs have an entrepreneurial streak, with 1 in 3 saying the best way to achieve wealth is through self-employment.
Meanwhile, in the entertainment space, the data revealed that 3 in 4 Gen Zs connect over being part of a TV, music or gaming fandom.
Based on the data from Meta, Black said that Gen Zs are strengthening their personal relationships and seeking out third spaces outside of school, work and home to build communities online and in real life.
“They will crowdsource from people that follow them or will consult group chats of their closest friends,” she added.
So, how can brands and advertisers ensure the attention of Gen Z audiences in the lifestyle and self-improvement trend space?
Black reiterated that Gen Zs are “incredibly impacted by the cost of living” and that brands must show the value they add for younger Australians.
“Whether that’s through sustainable practices or being a trusted source as they seek self-improvement,” she added.
Creators should also be seen as “instigators and accelerants” of Gen Z culture.
She said: “Advertisers should think about how they can partner with Gen Z creators to give their brands expression to the many different sub-cultures that thrive among Gen Z.”
Black also noted that advertisers should stay current with the latest trends, take risks and experiment with trends from the Gen Z audience.
“Gen Z values creativity and innovation, so don’t be afraid to try something different,” Black said.