How to reach Gen Z in 2024, according to new data

Gen Z is different from older generations. They are digitally native, spend more time watching videos, and have embraced the overlap between media and technology. But Gen Z has some particular habits marketers should pay attention to.

1. Gen Z hates bad memes

The No. 2 “ick” or undesirable trait among Gen Zers is a bad sense of humor and taste in memes, ranked behind chewing with mouths open, according to the 2024 Instagram Trend Talk report. TikTok and Instagram are the most important social media platforms among Gen Z shoppers for brand discovery, according to Insider Intelligence data, which means it’s important to keep content relevant on those platforms.

Put it to work: While brands probably don’t have to worry about chewing with their mouths open, they might be guilty of bad memes. Make sure your marketing team is up to date on TikTok and Instagram trends so they don’t fall behind and risk ridicule.

2. Gen Z buys less clothing, repeats outfits more

Repeating outfits ranked as Gen Z’s No. 3 fashion trend globally, according to Instagram. Gen Zers are more calculated than older shoppers in their purchase decisions and are less likely to make impulse purchases, according to our Gen Z Path to Purchase report.

Put it to work: Brands aiming to reach Gen Z need to give them a reason to buy. Offering sustainable fashion or accessories and smaller purchases that can spice up clothing they already own could provide that incentive.

3. Gen Z prizes individuality

Nearly one-third of Gen Z said they are looking to dress more creatively, and many are seeking a “core aesthetic,” or a look that is central to their identity, according to Instagram. Gen Z is looking for inspiration in-store, on brand websites or apps, and on social media, which are the top three places the generation discovers new clothing products, according to Insider Intelligence data. Social media is even more important among Gen Z beauty shoppers.

Put it to work: Help Gen Zers stand out. Offer ideas and inspiration for new aesthetics via content on the platforms where Gen Z spends time, like social media. Don’t be afraid to create unique content.

4. Gen Z wants to connect

The No. 1 reason Gen Zers will use social media in 2024 is to connect with friends and family, according to Instagram. Social entertainment on platforms like TikTok is important, but Gen Z also wants to connect with real people. Watching videos (68%) and influencer content (47.8%) are the top two ways Gen Z discovers products on social media, per an Insider Intelligence survey.

Put it to work: Be authentic. Don’t lean too heavily into emerging tech like generative AI such that consumers don’t feel a personal connection. Work with creators to build community and connections.

5. Gen Z is in its self-improvement phase

Self improvement or development are Gen Z’s No. 1 era for 2024, according to Instagram. That’s Gen Z speak for what they’re looking for out of this time period in their life. The generation’s top three priorities were staying healthy, exploring a career path, and traveling. When it comes to product discovery, social media and brand websites are more likely used for Gen Z health and personal care shoppers than for older generations, according to Insider Intelligence data.

Put it to work: Help Gen Z self-improve. Develop educational content and work with creators that lean into wellness.

This was originally featured in the eMarketer Daily newsletter. For more marketing insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.