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Instagram’s new trend report predicts how Gen Z will shape culture in 2022

Instagram’s 2022 Trend Report offers a window into the culture that Zoomers are creating on social media.

instagram trend report 2022
Image: Instagram

Instagram’s first-ever annual Trend Report showcases how Gen Z is driving cultural change today and in the years ahead. It’s the result of a survey of 1,200 13- to 24-year-olds who use social media every week. 

The 2022 Instagram Trend Report covers numerous niches of culture and predicts what trends, ideas, and media will define the new year. These highlights are a peek into Gen Z’s trends for 2022.

Fashion and Beauty

Instagram has become Gen-Z’s equivalent of fashion magazines, turning normal teens into fashion influencers from their bedrooms.

The 2022 Trend Report found that 50% of teens and young adults plan to try out ambitious fashion niches like Dark Academia, Goblincore and Nostalgia wear in 2022. The Dark Academia fashion trend alone has over 1 million posts on Instagram. 

The way Zoomers get their clothes is shifting, too. The Trend Report found that 27% of young people plan to shop directly through their social media feeds, while 23% plan to shop at online thrift stores more in 2022.

This is unsurprising considering how Gen-Z’s top fashion trends largely draw off 20th-century styles. Just take a look at the VHS-style design of the 2022 Trend Report for inspiration. 

Music and Dance

Social media is the epicenter of the music industry for Gen-Z. An estimated 70% of Zoomers use platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Spotify to discover and follow their favorite artists.

A musician can “blow up” overnight if Gen-Z adopts one of their songs for a dance challenge trend. Over one in three teens are excited for 2022’s dance challenges, which are predicted to grow in popularity even more. 

COVID-19 changed the way Gen-Z thinks about concerts, too. The Trend Report found that one out of four plan to livestream these events in 2022. These concerts are taking the live music experience to bold new horizons that are specially designed for digital audiences. 

Career and Education

Zoomers are reconsidering the value of college and the importance of a 9-to-5 career. The Trend Report found that 66% of Gen-Z has begun to devalue college education. They care more about a meaningful career than a high paycheck.

Given the recent staggering employee turnover rates in vital industries  — such as a 129% turnover rate in skilled nursing facilities and a 92% turnover rate in the transportation industry — employers will have to shift their hiring approaches and expectations if they want to appeal to Gen-Z. 

Almost 70% of Zoomers say work is something they “have to do” rather than the center of their life. They value real experiences over textbook education, so employers may have to rethink what a competitive resume looks like as Gen-Z begins to enter the workforce. 


Video games have truly exploded in popularity since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gen-Z was already a digitally native generation, but gaming has become one of their main social outlets. Livestreaming platform Twitch has surged in popularity since 2020. 

About 30% of Zoomers plan to watch more livestreams in 2022, while another 40% expect to see video game trends continue to grow. Gen-Z is spending more money on games, as well, with interest in digital-only goods doubling during 2021. 

Social Justice

Over 50% of Zoomers followed social justice accounts in 2021. Activism is one of the top priorities for this generation. Similar to millennials, Gen-Z is largely progressive and pro-government. They are also the most diverse generation in American history. 

The Trend Report found that Gen-Z often advocates online but is also donating more money to social causes than in 2021. Zoomers on Instagram are over three times more likely to vote in local, state, and national elections than those not on Instagram. 

instagram social media logo and blurred background
Image: KnowTechie

The Internet Generation

Gen-Z was the first generation to grow up with social media, so it is not surprising that they are fueling the trends that dominate these online platforms.

Instagram’s 2022 Trend Report offers a window into the culture that Zoomers are creating on social media. As Gen-Z comes of age, these trends could hint at the real world they are already beginning to shape.

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Staff writer at ReHack Magazine with a passion for cybersecurity, AI, and all things tech. Offline, you'll find me cruising the neighborhood on my motorcycle or bingeing the latest true crime documentary.

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