Youth marketing
min read

Gen Z And Summer Spending | Getting Ready For Back To School

Written by
Izzy Hall
Published on
May 15, 2023
Last updated
January 18, 2024

What this article covers

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Young people across the world are submitting final essays, sitting exams and (hopefully) celebrating important results, and they're ready to celebrate the summer with friends and family. But aside from travelling and securing their tickets for events, we noticed an interesting trend in Gen Z spending over the summer period: technology and homeware.

Technology and homeware are two key sectors for Gen Z spending over summer 2023, in part due to this generation's love of social media. The online worlds and communities they're exposed to on a daily (or, let's be honest, hourly) basis impact who they're interacting with and how, as well as influencing their purchasing decisions.

In this blog post, we explore Gen Z's love for technology, their return to academia, and how Pinterest and TikTok creators are inspiring them to add the odd little treat into their virtual baskets.

Young Gen Z woman using a laptop in a cafe

The Back to School season: technology and mobile

Gen Z is a generation of digital natives, so it comes as no real surprise that 16% from the UK and 21% from the US will be spending money on technology over the summer months. Voxburner research revealed that this breaks down to:

  • 32% UK Gen Z males
  • 12% UK Gen Z females
  • 32% US Gen Z males
  • 19% US Gen Z females

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, online learning and remote working have become increasingly common (and, we discussed in our Gen Z Summer Travel Trends blog, a key focus for Gen Z), meaning that having the latest gadgets is more important to young people than ever before. This is reflected in the jump in spending for students when the semester begins; whilst some Gen Z students are preparing themselves for the new academic year over the summer, many are still leaving it to the last minute. Whether spending within this sector is due to practicality or to keep on trend, we'll let you decide!

Group of Gen Z women looking at a mobile phone

The power of community in technology

But this generation's eagerness to spend their hard-saved pennies on technology doesn't just relate to their academic lives, but also their desire for personal, intimate connections, many of which are formed online. Many Gen Zers are choosing to step away from the social media platforms that house trolls (we're looking at you, Twitter), preferring those that bring them closer to those with shared interests and values, such as Discord and Twitch.

Currently, 25% of UK Gen Z students and 27% from the US use Discord, and we expect this number to rise in the future. Spaces such as Discord are hubs of conversation and engagement, spaces that nurture community. And they don't just appeal to 'traditional' gamers and tech-fans, but more widespread communities, such as health and beauty. We've even heard of workplaces using Discord for internal communications!

Ultimately, whilst Gen Zers aren't planning on spending thousands of pounds on video game consoles and advanced technology, it's certainly something that's piquing their interest this summer.

Searching for serotonin in Pinterest hauls

15% of Gen Zers from the UK and 17% from the US expect to spend money on homeware over the summer season - some of which undoubtedly relates to the Back to School sopping season. From kitting out new university rooms to 'modernising' college houses, expect to see young people looking for the latest deals to help them save cash but still look cool (p.s. be sure to check out our Back to School USA snapshot for key themes, tips, and case studies!).

https://www.tiktok.com/@hayleighjmc/video/7211458743962307845?lang=en

Once again, we're seeing social media influencing young people's spending habits, with content creators sharing their homeware hauls on TikTok and mood boards on Pinterest. And what's the drive for young people? That serotonin boost. Gen Zers may be watching their wallets right now, but it doesn't mean they're averse to splashing out a new rug or mug. Small-time creators (who, as we know, have a higher engagement with Gen Z than macroinfluencers) such as @jack.designs and @hayleighjmc use their accounts to post their latest purchases, all of which play into the idea of 'weekend resets' - a popular trend on the app. This aspirational and aesthetic content helps young people to manifest their dream lives, something which they desperately want right now amidst the chaos of current events.

Recently, our sister company Student Beans caught up with Gen Z Pinterest creator Tati, who shared how brands can tap into this platform and work with creators. "On Pinterest, having a 'niche' is not as crucial as on other platforms, where creators would focus on a few select categories", says Tati. "I would therefore advise brands to do more research into the type of content a creator makes on Pinterest specifically and not be afraid to try new things." Pinterest is the ideal platform for these homeware hauls and we predict that it will be one of Gen Z's go-to platforms this summer, so be sure to get your brand on it now if you haven't already!

From pinning outfit inspiration to creating an interior design board, Pinterest is undoubtedly one of this generation's go-to platforms and is soaring in popularity ahead of the summer season. 

Young women walking and laughing in New York

So there you have it! A crash course in Gen Z's summer spending when it comes to technology, homeware, and the Back to School season. Just make sure you act now to avoid being left behind...!

Want to learn more about the Freshers and Back to School season? Sign up for our webinar Reaching Gen Z During Freshers Week and Back to School Season now! This webinar will be bursting with actionable insights from our expert panel to help you deliver a successful campaign to make sure your brand resonates with the ever-evolving needs of Gen Z.

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