Social media, influencer and creator marketing

Gen Z Social Media Users Are Romanticising Summer 2023

Written by
Izzy Hall
Published on
April 24, 2023
Last updated
May 9, 2024

What this article covers

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Gen Zers across the world are looking forward to their summer holidays and vacations – it’s a break from education, a time to reconnect with family, and an opportunity to celebrate exam results with friends.

Because of this long holiday period, summer is a key spending time in Gen Z’s calendar. Gaining an understanding of what this young generation wants and needs will help you to create an impactful social media strategy, connect with them, secure their spending, and lock in their loyalty for much longer than hot days and warm August nights.

For Gen Z, the summer season doesn't really start when they finish the academic year or step off the plane. It begins months before, during early spring, when they start to make plans, manifest their dream destinations, and shop for clothes and accessories.

Gen Z, social media and summer 2023

Social media apps like Pinterest and TikTok are helping Gen Z to manifest their dream summers. It's where they're pulling inspiration for which brands they want to interact with, picking up on the latest style trends, and tracking down the quietest beach spots or most aesthetic hotels.

Gen Z woman on holiday using her camera

In this blog post, we'll be looking at how nostalgia is powering Gen Z's 2023 summer and sharing how you can catch their attention now in order to secure their loyalty throughout the season and beyond.

Revisiting summer 2022

The countdown is well and truly on, and Gen Zers just can’t wait until they can spend quality time with friends and family, travel to warmer climates, and dress to impress.

To build excitement even more, this age group is taking to TikTok to share videos and photos from previous summers, all with captions along the lines of ‘Only 3 more months until life looks like this again’. And, to add just a touch of romanticism, these trending videos are accompanied by Lana Del Ray’s ‘Young and Beautiful’. Currently, the audio has 264.2K videos on the app - pretty impressive for a song that came out in 2013 (this just goes to prove the power of TikTok when it comes to music!).

So, why are Gen Zers sharing these summer throwback videos on their social media accounts? Well, it’s motivational content for them, helping this young cohort to stay positive and get them through winter and school/college. As one TikToker commented on a video: ‘some inspo to keep going and get those good grades till we can do this all day’. Young people are placing a lot on the summer season, and it provides brands with a huge opportunity to connect and engage with them.

Gen Z fashion and Pinterest

And this generation of digital natives aren’t just using TikTok to reminisce but also to get creative, particularly when it comes to fashion. Young shoppers are creating Pinterest boards as we speak, gathering inspiration and placing items in their virtual baskets to get ahead of trends. Perhaps somewhat optimistically (for those staying in the UK, anyway!), they're already starting to buy shorts, skirts, dresses, and swimwear. In fact, 50% of young people from the UK and 59% from the US plan to spend money on clothes, shoes, and accessories this summer. Interestingly, when this is broken down, it’s a reasonably equal split between males and females, with 52% of males from the UK and 50% of females committing to spending within this sector.

Currently, 43% of UK and 54% of US Gen Z students use Pinterest, and the app itself reported that 445 million people use Pinterest every month to find ideas and inspire their next purchase, whilst Gen Z 'Pinners' are up 40% year on year. But why is this platform so popular amongst this young generation, particularly at this time of year? "Pinterest is the perfect tool for finding inspirational and aspirational content with the pressure of negative comments that can be found on platforms such as TikTok", says Pinterest creator Tati, who recently caught up with our sister company Student Beans. The app is a refreshing break from the sometimes overwhelming and overstimulating content that can be found on other social media platforms... even digital natives need a break sometimes!

Gen Z female reading text messages with smart phone on the street in the morning

Pinterest isn't a platform that brands should be ignoring, and now's the time to step up if you want to get on Gen Z's minds ahead of summer. The platform allows brands to drastically increase conversions thanks to the fact that users don't have to go through multiple steps and click a separate link (we're looking at you, 'link in bio'), and making it big on the platform is all about creating an authentic and aesthetic brand image. By taking your brand to this platform, which is driven by forward-thinking, engaged, and creative young people, sharing the right media content will mean that your brand and products will become a part of their everyday pinning (and eventually, their lives!).

However, TikTok is still where all big viral trends begin. Headbands, tailoring, waistcoats, denim cargos, bright colours, and metallics are all on the ‘ones to watch’ list for summer 2023, so for the fashion and retail brands out there, you’ve been warned! Watch this space.

Summer holiday 2023 inspiration

But it’s not just the occasional ‘summer inspo’ video that’s going viral on TikTok - there are whole accounts dedicated to sharing summer clips, highlights, and ideas that are catching the attention of this generation. One of the most popular accounts has 108.2K followers and 2.8M likes, and shares bucket list ideas, all with the aim of helping young people make the most of their break from education. Ideas include ‘pull an all nighter and watch the sunset with friends’, ‘have a rooftop picnic’, ‘have a beach bonfire’, and ‘go on a late night bike ride’. Interestingly, these are all free or very cheap ideas. Gen Zers are very resourceful, and to combat the rising cost of living they’re coming up with fun and free ideas to make the most of their time, regardless.

This concept of using social media as a hub of recommendations and ideas is a reoccurring theme, and one that previously appeared in the 'I Don't Google, I TikTok' trend in our Supercharge Your Gen Z Marketing for 2023 guide. In fact, comments on one summer holiday TikTok include: 'hi can you give me hotel suggestion which would be near the coast and would be on a budget' and 'Do u have any places/hotels or airbnb recommendations'. Gen Zers are moving away from traditional search engines at an alarming rate, so brands and marketers who want to catch their attention and engage with them should be heading to the platform they live in 24/7 - TikTok. Whether it's replying to comments with links to your brand, partnering with creators for content, or organically researching what your audience wants, TikTok is the place to be.

So there you have it - a crash course looking into what Gen Zers are expecting from summer (and brands) in 2023. Keep your eyes peeled for our next instalment of this series, where we'll be looking at this generation's travel habits in 2023.

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