Consumers shop hottest summer styles and BTS simultaneously

Back-to-school shopping isn’t exclusive to students or parents; 42% of millennials and Gen Xers who shop for their kids also plan to shop for themselves, research finds.
Elizabeth Christenson
Editor, Retail Leader
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Shopping for clothes

Gen Z thinks it’s the most fashionable generation and is twice as likely to say their style is fashionable and trendy (41%) compared to the general population (20%), according to a report from LTK.

Across the board generationally, all consumers wanted to experiment more in their style and be more bold. Unsurprisingly, Gen Z is the most experimental in their style —  72% said they love trying and buying clothes for new trends, compared to millennials (66%) and Gen X (58%).

The “clean girl” aesthetic takes the crown as the top style trend for this summer, according to LTK. The effortless, minimalist and casually elegant look is the No. 1 style for Gen Z and millennials nationwide.

“This season, more and more retailers are curating collections that align with this aesthetic, offering versatile and easy-to-wear pieces,” Rodney Mason, head of marketing, brand partnerships at LTK, told Retail Leader.

Florals are the second most popular look Gen Z and millennials are wearing this summer. And, when choosing between other popular trends, Gen Z style gravitates more toward goth and grunge over the Barbiecore aesthetic that’s remained popular during the last year.

When it comes to this year’s summer fashion trends, below are LTK’s main takeaways for retailers:

  • Gen Z women highly value style and consider it important to their overall happiness. The majority of Gen Z (81%) said style and feeling confident in their outfit choices make them happy. 
  • Gen Z women continue to rely on TikTok and creators for style inspiration, while millennials are more inclined to use Instagram for style recommendations.
  • Neutrals continue to be popular as the preferred color palette, complementing the clean girl aesthetic. Gen Z is breaking from traditional summer colors, and 70% said their go-to colors to wear this summer are white and beige.

“By considering these takeaways, retailers can tailor their marketing strategies, product offerings and collaborations to effectively target Gen Z and millennial consumers and cater to their style preferences this summer,” Mason said.

As far as how much consumers are spending on fashion this summer, LTK found more Gen Z said they plan to spend between $100 to $250 than other generations, such as millennials and Gen X. However, 22% of millennials and 30% of Gen X said they would spend more than $250 compared to 19% of Gen Z. 

    family shopping for clothing

    Shopping for BTS

    All consumers will be shopping earlier for back-to-school this year, LTK found. More than one-third began in late June to early July and will continue shopping throughout the season looking for the greatest value. 

    “Price is the top ranked decision factor in making purchases, so brands have to be priced at a good perceived value, more so than in recent years,” Mason said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be the cheapest price in the market, but they should be priced at an exceptional value for the brand.”

    Back-to-school shopping is one of the biggest retail moments leading up to the fall season with 65% of the general population intending to shop during this time. Key LTK insights include:

    • Despite economic concerns, 81% of shoppers plan to spend the same or more as last year with purchase decisions driven by price and quality. 
    • Gen Z leads the pack with 77% intending to shop, closely followed by 76% millennials and 74% Gen X. 
    • Back-to-school shopping isn’t exclusive to students or parents; 42% of millennials and Gen Xers who shop for their kids also plan to shop for themselves.
    • The most sought-after categories during the back-to-school season include fashion, shoes, backpacks and lunch boxes, core school supplies, accessories, personal care products, food and beverage, cleaning supplies, electronics and health and wellness products. 
    • More shoppers are turning to creators for style inspiration — 45% of Gen Z and 41% of millennials say they follow creators who share back-to-school content.