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Key insights: Gen Z students’ take on fashion and beauty

Something revolutionary is happening in students’ wardrobes. Style is being born and bred on campus – as modelled by campus micro-influencers, and captured by TikTok wishlists. Get to grips with how fashion and beauty trends are playing out in the hands (and feeds) of Gen Z students with our sector-specific insights – taken from our own research and other trusted sources.

   Young people shopping     

Students’ thoughts on fashion & beauty 

  • 58% of Gen Z students say that what they wear – e.g. fashion, beauty and accessories – is a part of their personal identity. 
  • Gen Z students are starting to think a bit more about things like Augmented Reality for digital try-ons – but with 30% saying AR would improve their shopping experience, this is still relatively new. 
  • Ultimately, it all lies in originality. 8 in 10 Gen Zs and millennials said ‘being yourself’ is the phrase that best fits their personal definition of beauty.
  • Gen Z students are inherently curious about your brand – 47% want to see behind-the-scenes content from you on social media, making it the most popular content type. 
  • There are factors that will drive Gen Z students away from your fashion or beauty brand, though. The top three? Being too expensive, offering poor-quality products, and a lack of shared values between themselves and the brand.


A girl browses a clothes rail

Students’ feelings on fashion & beauty 

a shopping cart full of beauty buys

Students’ fashion & beauty behaviours 

  • Students are willing to invest their cash in fashion. In 2024, it ranked #2 in their list of discretionary categories that they spend the most on (and was #4 overall including essential purchases). 
  • Fashion and beauty purchases regularly make it into students’ baskets. 68% buy fashion and beauty at least monthly, with a dedicated 14% purchasing at least once a week. 
  • When it comes to spending in general, Gen Z students’ top three priorities are affordability (74%), quality (58%) and convenience (48%). Affordability and quality have been top priority for two years running now. 
  • But when it comes to beauty, Gen Zs are less willing to scrimp than other demographics. 48% said price determined their beauty purchases, compared to a total of 61% across the board. 
  • They may be digital natives, but this cohort of students still prefer to mix and match how they buy fashion and beauty. 46% buy both online and in-person, with 32% just buying in-person and 10% just buying online. 
  • Often, sampling is a key part of the shopping experience for students. 57% have bought something after sampling it on campus, and 54% would supply an email address in exchange for a free sample.


students shopping on a sunny day

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