The Latest Trends Among 20 Year Olds in the UK
Every generation is shaped by the trends they grow up with. Generation Z, or basically people currently in their teens and early 20s, grew up with technology playing a major role in many areas of their lives.
Whether it’s creating an online career for themselves or simply staying connected to friends and family online, technology runs the way our young adults live their everyday lives. In many cases, technology has been a huge asset for young people as it provides them access to a wealth of information and ideas and helps them feel connected to communities they seek out online. However, in many ways technology has also had negative impacts on young adults. Many face online bullying and the mental health issues that relate to it, having to navigate what is real and fake online, and dealing with excessive daily screen time and social media addiction.
In the era of the online influencer, let us explore what else is influencing our young adults and shaping their lives. The following are some of the latest trends among 20 year olds and other Gen Zers or “Zoomers” in the UK.
Social media no doubt continues to shape how young people express themselves and connect with others online. Almost all Gen Zers spend at least part of each day checking in on their social media feeds. Nearly 90% of teens and young adults claim to have at least one social media profile and most are logging on via their smartphones as opposed to a laptop or tablet.
Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram seem to be the social media platforms of choice for 20 year olds and teens. While Facebook is still used by young adults, more and more are limiting their daily usage in favor of other platforms. Gen Z seems to be not interested in using platforms like LinkedIn, WhatsApp, and Twitter. They tend to be reserved largely for those aged 30 and above.
TikTok is one of the fastest growing social media platforms, allowing its users to create short videos with music and filters. TikTok encourages creativity and is more of an entertainment platform (showcasing song and dance) as opposed to a way of communicating with friends and family and getting updates on what’s going on in people’s lives.
TikTok’s ease of use enables anyone to create entertaining and creative videos and gets quite addictive the more young adults use it. It has quickly become one of the most downloaded apps around the world among young adults.
It’s estimated that over 3 million Brits engage in vaping, driven mostly by young adults that fall into either the Gen Z or Millennial categories. Vaping involves the use of a sleek tech gadget such as the PAX3 Vaporizer, which people use to inhale vapor-like aerosol often containing flavors like fruit flavors or bubble gum.
While vaping aerosol does contain several chemicals including nicotine, some studies have shown vaping to be 95% less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes. Many regular smokers have switched to vaping as a smoking cessation tool and there is no strong evidence that has shown vaping to be as highly addictive as cigarettes.
Vaping is definitely growing in popularity among 20 year olds and young adults in the UK. Vaporizers have almost become status symbols among young adults and have gained social media appeal. While vaping may not be 100% harmless or necessarily beneficial to human health, the alternative is worse.
We have also seen the proven evidence of how harmful cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco can be. Regular smoking has been shown to cause cancer, reduce sperm count, impair immune system function, and put you at increased risk of stroke. Vaping products contain fewer contaminants than traditional cigarettes, especially since the removal of vitamin E acetate and other harmful ingredients from vaping products.
While vaping may be trending with young adults, the use of alcohol, traditional cigarettes, and illicit drugs have seen a decrease. It looks like young people are beginning to understand the importance of their health and making smarter decisions when it comes to drugs and alcohol.
Young adults are also serious about combating climate change and this has been shown through activism and making environmentally-friendly choices. Gen Z understands that they will be the ones who will face the greatest impacts of climate change if nothing is done quickly and are therefore taking action.
Documentaries about wildlife and the environment have seen their audiences skyrocket among young adults. Names like David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg have captivated and encouraged young people to challenge world leaders to take immediate action against climate change.
Young people are recycling more and boycotting businesses that aren’t putting the environment first through ways like usage of ecological packaging. Young people are more apt to purchase brands that are proving to do their part in reducing their carbon footprint or are somehow giving back to the environment in some way. Sustainable fashion is also up, with Gen Z seeking out eco-conscious brands and sustainable fashion products.
In a world of plagued with photoshopping and Instagram filters, young people are seeking the truth and authenticity. They are getting fed up with the bulls@*t and lies fed to them by dodgy online influencers, politicians, and fake news outlets. Young adults are much less susceptible to believe advertising that is filled with untruths or misinformation.
Young adults have tons of information at their disposal in the form of the internet and are beginning to use it to make researched and informed decisions. While we are seeing a large increase in plastic surgery with Millennials, who thanks to social media were made to feel like “imperfections” should be avoided at all costs, Gen Z are beginning to accept themselves for who they are.
While Gen Zers may seek out non-surgical aesthetic procedures as a preventative measure for looking older or for fixing minor flaws, they are avoiding overly-enhanced looks and opting for a more natural appearance instead. It’s no longer about breast implants and face lifts, rather more about fillers and injections if they get any work done at all.
We have already seen platforms like Instagram remove augmented reality (AR) filters which would otherwise likely promote cosmetic surgery, and this will no doubt hopefully see young adults less inclined to go under the knife in the name of beauty.
Young adults are being subjected to many stresses, whether it’s wondering if they will ever be able to afford a home, are worried about their future career, social anxiety, or the planet being completely destroyed during their lifetime.
Gen Z understands the importance of mental health and are finding ways to improve their mental well-being. They are using mindfulness apps, meditating, eating healthy, and engaging in fitness and yoga to have a healthy body and mind.
Today’s world moves fast and young people are looking for ways to slow down the pace of life. In an effort to avoid burnout, they are looking to develop strong minds that can filter through the chaos of life in order to focus on what is really important.
Gen Zers are all about blazing their own trail and not simply being sheep. They value their independent thinking and will seek out communities that accept and share their interests and beliefs as opposed to conforming to what is considered the status quo.
Gen Z are proud of who they are and aren’t afraid to voice their opinions. They are less apt to buy into big name brands and ask questions like where and how products are made so as to support companies that align with their beliefs.
Young people aren’t afraid to push boundaries and question the boxes we have put around things. We have seen the rise of gender fluidity and not needing to necessarily define yourself as either male or female. They are more accepting of who others are and respect others’ decisions so long as they themselves are allowed to be who they wish to be.
Video Streaming and Gaming
Young adults are all about staring at screens, but not the same screens Millenials and older adults are using. They are watching their content via phones instead of TVs or laptops. The most popular platforms for watching videos are YouTube and Instagram and they prefer to watch their videos solely on their phones. After all, nearly every Gen Zer has their own smartphone these days.
Gen Zers are short on time and prefer shorter videos over longer TV series and movies. They lose attention more quickly and grew up on YouTube. Nearly two-thirds of young adults use YouTube daily. They are attracted to highly entertaining content produced by vloggers who in many cases accumulate millions of subscribers.
Gaming is also big with young adults, with nearly 75% saying they are gamers in some form. Gaming is more about interacting with other gamers these days as opposed to competing on an individual level as it was in the past. Also unique is that more and more young people are finding it just as entertaining to watch people playing video games as it is actually playing games themselves.
Gamers are also using platforms like Discord to communicate with other online gamers. Discord allows gamers to communicate with one another via voice, video, and text.
These are just some of the trends that are shaping Gen Z today. As with every generation, some trends are a step in the right direction while others may prove to be not so beneficial when we look back. Whatever the case, trends are hard to stop and the trends we covered won’t be going away anytime soon.