Instagram explores the key upcoming trends forecast to shape culture in 2022 as defined by GenZ in new report


We’ve waited a while for Instagram’s inaugural trend report - the app launched over a decade ago in October 2011. Why a GenZ-focused trend report now then 122 months post launch? During an October 2021 earnings call with investors, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook was "retooling" its team to make "serving the young adults their north star, rather than optimizing for the larger number of older people."

This was jargon-ese for 'the teens have fled my apps in droves and I need them back.'

The Facebook papers leaked by Frances Haugen highlight the existential problem faced by Facebook. The Verge details the issues in its article: Facebook's lost generation.

That said the 2022 Instagram Trend Report offers plenty of insight into upcoming trends forecast to shape culture in 2022 as defined by GenZ.

In October 2021 Instagram worked with youth marketing research and insights experts, YPulse to survey 1,200 US-based GenZ weekly social media users for The 2022 Instagram Trend Report. Here are some stand-out stats:

Minimalist skin regime

The recent uptick in plant-based diets illustrates the caution many GenZ have when putting food into their bodies. We learn here that young people are becoming more aware of what they put on their bodies, too. 

  • 1-in-3 GenZ is interested in learning more about and buying ‘clean’ makeup/skincare products in 2022. This includes plant-based skincare, vegan makeup, using fewer products on their skin.

Social Commerce

Online shopping ain’t going anywhere. According to this report over 50% of survey respondents who are interested in new shopping, experiences turn to Instagram to keep up with their shopping interests. 

  • 27% of GenZ are expecting to shop directly through their social media feeds.
  • 23% GenZ will buy pre-owned clothes online in 2022 (via Depop, Poshmark etc).
  • 24% GenZ will sell with their clothes online in 2022.

Music discovery

GenZ continues to turn to social media for music discovery. Music enjoyment is increasingly visual.

  • 1-in-4 GenZ expects to live stream concerts and visual album releases in 2022.
  • 70% will discover new music or artists via social media in 2022.

Influencers, content creators and celebrity

It appears that Instagram has finally conceded that popularity is not always the same as influence. “Today young people are impacted by a wide spectrum of creators and their relationship is more tightly aligned around shared interests and less so on how popular they’ve gotten,” runs one of the lines in the report. 

  • 1-in-4 GenZ agrees micro-influencers with loyal and highly engaged audiences are most important when creating new trends.
  • 1-in-4 GenZ also says social media influencers are the most important trend spreaders regardless of the size of their followings. 
  • 4-out-of-5 GenZ agree that social media and other online celebrities have more influence on culture than traditional celebrities like actors.

However, confusingly “83% of GenZ believes that creators have as much influence as online influencers - if not more”. This becomes difficult as the report fails to define the difference between creators and online influencers. 

  • 20% of GenZ expects to see more brand-name clothing on their gaming avatars.

Social justice

GenZ are engaged in taking social action. This means more than clicking ‘like’ or sharing a post.

  • 52% GenZ followed social justice accounts on social media in 2021 reinforcing how integral social is for sharing information on activism. 
  • More GenZ will donate money to social justice causes in 2022 than they did in 2021 -- 37% up from 32%.

Artist Sophie Wilson is quoted in the report saying: “People get caught up in thinking that the repost is it, ‘you know I’m an activist now I’ve done my part’ but it’s like if you don’t take those steps in creating this into something that actually happens in real life you’re only doing a small section of the work.”

Scott Guthrie is a professional adviser within the influencer marketing industry. He is an event speaker, university guest lecturer, media commentator on influencer marketing and active blogger. He works with brands, agencies and platforms to achieve meaningful results from influencer marketing. That tells you something about him but it's not giving you a lot of detail, is it? So, read more here.

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