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Big Bucks and Baggy Pants: New Report Examines Gen Z Tips and Trends

Despite having a collective spending power of $360 billion, Gen Z, or those born between 1997 and 2012, are not a cookie-cutter bunch says a new analysis from Edited, the retail intelligence firm.

It also says this group is expected to earn $33 trillion by 2030.

The report stresses that 25- to 10-year-olds have very different tastes and concerns based upon which country they live in. It takes a deep dive into six of them—the U.S., the U.K., Australia, China, Sweden and Spain—and reveals individual consumer habits, influences and key fashion trends driving these young people.

While apparel trends vary by nation, roomy bottoms from cargos to full-on parachute pants seem to be a rare common denominator. “[U.S.] Gen Zers are cultivating grunge influences for a Sad Boy/Girl Fall. This movement coincides with the return of Indie Sleaze and the Teenage Dirtbag TikTok trend, sparking interest in slouchy denim, graphic tees and knitted vests,” the report said.

“The parachute pant is set to become a breakout trend, with Australiasian Pinterest searches showing a weekly double-digit increase. A Dion Lee style at David Jones, retailing at AUD $650 [$419], sold out in a majority of sizes at full price in under a month, while more than ten new styles at Shein are out of stock,” it added.

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Wide-legged trousers are also popular in China as Gen Z embraces modern takes on more traditional Chinese looks while baggy cargos dominate in Sweden where a love of Gorpcore continues to take hold.

Likewise, the report found that in Spain searches for cargo pants have seen a 60 percent increase month over month by Gen Z on Pinterest, with majority sellouts tracked across nine retailers. Baggy fits are also popular there and reflect the growing appreciation of gender fluidity.

It is tailored trousers that dominate in the U.K. at present though. Edited said that an appreciation for stereotypical Scandinavian simplicity has become a hot U.K. trend due in part to the popularity of Swedish influencer Matilda Djerf who has received more than 50 million views on TikTok.

Secondhand shopping is also gaining serious ground with U.K. youth. EBay reported searches for “pre-loved fashion” saw a 700 percent increase this summer after the shopping platform teamed with the TV show “Love Island” and dressed its cast entirely in pre-owned clothes.

The report also recommends that U.S. retailers join the thrifting trend to attract Gen Z consumers as they are the most swayed by price of any of the nationalities it examined.

A final tip for both U.S. and U.K. retail brands is to engage with Gen Z through the metaverse and online gaming platforms such as Roblox as Walmart, Tommy Hilfiger and U.K. shoe brand Kickers have done recently. Citing a separate study from British marketing agency Aurora, Edited said that Gen Z makes up approximately 60 percent of users in the metaverse in the U.K. and that they spend approximately eight or more hours a day online.

Edited added that data from the YPulse youth intelligence platform shows that at least 40 percent of Gen Z customers have purchased apparel or accessories for their avatars and cited joining the metaverse as an excellent way to foster community growth.