Instagram’s 2022 Predictive Trend Report: What drives Gen Z

TikTok is giving Instagram stiff competition, and is taking Generation Z by storm. The report on future changes to Instagram should especially convince the platform’s young, opinionated users.

Instagram has published its Predictive Trend Report for 2022.
Image: © wichayada / Adobe Stock

Gen Z sets the social media trends

Instagram is still one of the most successful social media platforms of the last few years. However, the latest hypes are currently being created on TikTok by Gen Z – those young people wanting to channel their creative energy where pretty much all of Generation X and Y hangs out. And increasing numbers of companies and marketers are using TikTok to reach young users. To remain relevant, Instagram is putting high stakes on the results of this Trend Report. A total of 1,200 young Americans between the ages of 13 and 24 were surveyed by Instagram for the Trend Report.

“In order to create this report, we tapped into the minds of Gen-Z to learn more about the rising Instagram trends across categories including music, fashion, creators and celebs, beauty, social justice, and so much more. From redefining how they approach education and the idea of a ‘career’ to maximalist fashion statements, these future-focused audiences are consistently creating the reality they want to live in.”, 2022 Instagram Trend Report.

1. Influencers shape trends and opinions

For Generation Z, it’s clear that young creators are the drivers of the community, regardless of how many followers they have. Rather than popularity, what matters is the exchange of interests, allowing new trends to emerge. 83 percent of those interviewed also stated that influencers have just as much – or even more – influence than public figures such as actors or musicians.

83 %
of those interviewed also stated that influencers have just as much influence than public figures such as actors or musicians.

2. Main themes: Sustainability, social justice and mental health

Whether it’s second-hand shopping, using “clean” skincare products or an eco-friendly home: a sustainable and better lifestyle is what motivates the young generation. This awareness for the right way of living doesn’t just refer to people’s own health and wellbeing: Gen Z is also making social justice its mission. This is about much more than social equality; social justice covers the demand for distributive and recognition justice and rejects discrimination in any form. 48 percent of those surveyed stated that they follow accounts that deal with these issues.

3. Social shopping – but with awareness

Shopping via social media? For 27 percent of those surveyed, that is definitely an option. For many, they also use it for information about the latest brands, products and trends. But even here, people’s focus is on the idea of sustainability and awareness of their own consumer behavior, which is demonstrated by the top hashtags provided by Instagram for shopping: #shopsmall, #shoplocal, and #sustainablefashion all rank highly.

4. Employer branding is key: Meaning over money

More than anything, the coronavirus pandemic has made the young generation reconsider its educational and career goals. 90 percent of the survey participants believe that real-life experience is more important than attending college. When it comes to their job, 71 percent of the respondents agree that meaning and purpose are worth more than earning a lot of money.

71 %
of the respondents agree that meaning and purpose are worth more than earning a lot of money.

5. Food, fashion, and wellness experience a creative boost

Trying out new things is what drives Gen Z. Many of those surveyed appear to enjoy being adventurous when it comes to preparing food and want to try out new and complex recipes. And new waves are being made when it comes to fashion, too: 50 percent of those interviewed want to try out bold styles like Dark Academia or Goblincore. Minimalism and self-care are also driving future trends. Creative hobbies like drawing, writing, and music are very popular with the young generation, which places great importance on mental wellness.

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