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May 12, 2021 Kelly Kovack
May 12, 2021
Quokkabottles via Unsplash

Brands and marketers are obsessed with understanding the psyche, behavior, and trends of the Gen Z consumer, but the key to understanding them is to dive into how they are feeling in this very moment. The impact of the pandemic has been profound and, in many ways, will define this generation. After over a year in lockdown and sheltering in place, pandemic life has become the new normal, impacting every aspect of our lives including mental wellness. While we are not out of the woods, the vaccine has provided hope that life as we once knew it is within reach. Teenagers are ready and eager to resume life in the real world.

Teenagers and young adults (14-24) make up three-quarters of the VSCO creator community around the world, and the impact of social media on mental health is a priority. VSCO checked in with them to see how they are doing as the world begins to reopen.

  • 75% want to spend time and money on experiences, rather than things.
  • The shift to digital learning hurt both grades and the spirit—55% said their mental health has worsened as a result of digital learning and 36% said their academic performance worsened.
  • Never more connected but never more disconnected. Despite the ability to connect digitally, many struggled to maintain relationships during the pandemic, with 45% reporting losing friendships during the pandemic.
  • Many hit a digital wall, with 64% taking a break from social media for mental health by deleting an app, logging out, or turning off notifications. 55% said they care less about hustle culture than they did before the pandemic.
  • 60% created vision boards, channeling the things they’re looking forward to post-pandemic. The top-three most popular categories represented on those vision boards were fashion/beauty (31%), travel (28%), and future places to live (20%).
  • 60% said they are more anxious about in-person interactions compared to pre-COVID.
  • 75% want experiences post-pandemic, and are “most eager” to spend money on live events (33%), trips (32%), or clothes for in-person events like school and work (17%).
  • 86% said doing something creative helps you feel more at ease.

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