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Black Friday: Gen Z student trends and how they’ll spend

The average Gen Z plans to spend roughly £175 on Black Friday this year, with a huge 79% of 18-23-year-olds planning to cop a purchase in the super-sale. In a shopping climate where, on the whole, UK consumers are expected to spend less, it really is the year of Gen Z. 

How will Gen Z students shop this Black Friday? 

With the cost of living crisis still very much plaguing the UK (and beyond), students are preparing to crunch their monies to ensure bills are paid on time and non-essential spending is reduced. In fact, 78% are preparing to cut back on non-essential spending. However, both new and returning students are keen to get back to shopping and socialising in person, as they’ve missed out over the past few years. Plus, no one can resist a good deal, after all! 

We’re already hearing whispers across social media about Black Friday. Students are expected to jump at the opportunity to upgrade their wardrobe and kit out their halls at a discounted price.

All things considered, students, like other demographics, will be cautious of their spending, meaning your Black Friday campaign needs to lead on value. According to native’s own research, affordability is the number one factor that Gen Z students consider when deciding whether to buy from your brand, with 74% considering it. Affordability outranks quality (a priority for 58%), transparency (45% consider this important) and even authenticity (prized by one in three Gen Z consumers). 

In short? Black Friday 2023 will be a hit with savvy Gen Z shoppers. 

Student trends this Black Friday

Given what we know about students’ financial situation at present (91% are affected by the cost of living crisis, 20% have stopped buying essentials and 20% have stopped buying luxuries and treats), Black Friday is a good opportunity to make purchases that are actually affordable, and maybe reintroduce treats. 

But as always, their journey to that digital (or physical) basket is a long, convoluted one – and the savviest Gen Z marketers know that it starts now. We’re already catching glimpses of top-of-funnel Black Friday marketing. Here’s what’s landing so far (and also what isn’t). 

Small drops and exclusive runs. 

We’ve really seen micro-drops and exclusivity take off in the world of Gen Z fashion marketing this year, with brands like scrunchie legends Good Squish and Gen Z-founded Peachy Den popularising limited-edition drops. As Gen Zs take stronger strides into the world of luxury fashion, the appeal of once-it’s-gone-it’s-gone is a strong guiding principle. Savvy brands will coincide their product launches with Black Friday, and might even give their most loyal customers an exclusive “first chance to buy”. 


Like every TikTok trend before it, Deinfluencing had the potential to be a flash in the digital pan. But it has become to Gen Z what the lipstick effect is to millennials – a welcome balm in the frosty throes of the cost-of-living crisis. 

In the wake of multiple articles bemoaning whether deinfluencing is a “good” thing or not, the deinfluencers have continued – and it’s perhaps not quite as clear-cut as you think. In an app now oversaturated with opportunities to purchase the latest “viral” product (that, upon closer inspection, isn’t actually viral at all, but rather just on TikTok shop), TikTok deinfluencers create pause for thought. They pose the question we all need to ask ourselves on the brink of a purchase: do I really need this? 

two girls enjoy a night in

The implication of this on Black Friday is one we should welcome rather than fear. Because if Gen Zs go into Black Friday more consciously, and buy only what they’ve been coveting for a good while, then their likelihood of staying loyal to your brand is much greater. Plus, they can be sure they’ve spent their money on something valuable, that they really, really need. 

Luxury wishlists

Working in tandem with Deinfluencing, the trend of posting a shopping wishlist in slideshow format to TikTok is a particularly endearing direction for Gen Z. These slideshows are highly personal curations of everything Gen Zs want to buy, but can’t necessarily afford right now – and e-commerce scrapbook, if you like. They can tell us a lot about how this demographic is browsing, and they often span multiple verticals – luxury knits often precede kitchen appliances, and beauty products brush shoulders with novelty homewares. 

This Black Friday could be a key opportunity for these young consumers to finally make their wishlists a reality – which is why you might want to put your key product lines on their agendas ahead of the big day. 


Are you ready for Black Friday 2023? Check out our playbook for advertising to students and get in touch to find out how we can help to kickstart your advertising campaign!