Hero Collective

words by

Naomi Augustin

May 04, 2023

humanology newsletter

From Thrifting to DIY, Gen Zs are Challenging Consumerism

Gen Z is rejecting consumerism and in turn, advocating for a more sustainable approach to life is becoming the norm. The internet and social media have given rise to a new generation of consumers who are certainly challenging the traditional model of consumerism and shifting to what we now consider, ‘anti-consumerism’. From thrifting/second-hand shopping to the ever-growing ‘Do it Yourself’ (DIY) culture, to ‘De-influencing’, we see more and more consumers shifting their approach to consumerism as a whole.

So, what's driving this shift, and what does it mean for brands?

According to Vogue Business, the resale market will be worth $350 billion by 2027 with Gen Z’s leading the way. Whether it is to adapt to the growing ‘vintage’ aesthetic, shop more sustainably, or to save some coins, these young consumers are finding ways to tailor their values to their shopping habits, even if it means ‘Doing it Themselves’. The 2023 Instagram Trend Report found that ‘more than half of Gen Z respondents stated that they plan to make their own clothes in 2023’. Thus, rejecting the idea that materialism and making purchases will make them happy and are instead focusing on values like sustainability, social responsibility, and most importantly, experiences.

While brands have taken steps to address the growing importance of ethical and social responsibility to their consumers and the earth, some are taking it a step further to address the growing cultural trends of DIY and thrifting/second-hand shopping. For example, American Eagle offers a promotion to consumers as an incentive to return old jeans. Further, according to Business Insider, ‘stores such Uniqlo, Timberland, and Arc'teryx will reward you for dropping off your unwanted clothes — they may even repair them’.

The game is changing in ways that are both inspiring and transformative. It's a refreshing change from the consumerism-driven mindset of previous generations and is transforming the way we think about everything from fashion to food. The use of social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok to view and share ideas, values, and beliefs with others has resulted in a new wave of anti-consumerism that's focused on creating a better world.

Whether it be through purchase decisions or content shared on social, this generation is aware of their growing purchasing power and influence and is utilizing it to revolutionize the world and culture.

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