Think it’s hard buying gifts for teens? Well, it’s only half as challenging as predicting all the culture Gen Z will be loving in the year to come. Teen choices in hobbies, socializing and style—as well as their interactions with their millennial helicopter parents—are going to shape family life, the entertainment industry and in an election year, the rights of us all. We combed media outlets, news reports and (duh) TikTok, for intel on where teens are headed. Here are nine teen trends we think are poised to gain momentum in 2024.
From Badminton to Wrinkle Reduction, These 9 Trends Will be Huge For Teens in 2024
And be sure to put a bow on everything
1. Teens Will Be Making a Racket (Sport)
Step aside, pickleball enthusiasts: Pinterest says that Gen Z and millennials will be all about badminton in 2024, citing searches for racquets and outfits for the sport increasing by 80 percent and searches for “playing badminton esthetic” increasing by 45 percent. The popularity among this younger set is likely an outgrowth of the South Korean coming-of-age drama Racket Boys on Netflix, as well as teens simply wanting a playful sport of their own that’s not as overheated as tennis or as Boomer-pilled as pickleball.
2. Helicopter Moms Arranging Play Dates for College Kids
In colleges across the country, Facebook groups for parents are sharing intel on everything from the prosaic (medical specialist recommendations) to the wack-a-do (at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a freshmen parent posted that all parents should pack a foam pool noodle to prevent Junior’s phone from falling between their bunk bed and the wall). This is yet another sign of sociologist Jean Twenge’s thesis that Gen Z is maturing more slowly than previous generations…so let’s hope these college kids are grateful for the caretaking, which includes local moms bringing soup when faraway moms post their kids have the flu.
3. The Girly Concert as Budget-Busting Event Will Continue
After the US legs of Taylor Swift’s and Beyonce’s tours sold out of hard-to-get tickets that cost into the thousands, it was hard to ignore the buying power of teen and tween girls. And this year, the sales look to continue, thanks to Olivia Rodrigo’s upcoming tour. Beginning this winter, her arena shows are fetching close to $900 per ticket on the resale market, with many of these sales going directly to the teens who are her fanbase. Expect major GRWM and OOTD posts around show time.
4. Underage Teens are Sneaking onto a Forbidden Social Platform: LinkedIn
Perhaps it was inevitable, after tech workers called out their social media overlords as knowing—and downplaying—mental health harm to teens. Now high schoolers are flocking to a social media site that’s all about celebrating work accomplishments—LinkedIn. Reports from high schoolers, academic advisors and LinkedIn employees say teens are using the site to craft resumes and snag summer internships and first jobs. Additionally, high schoolers we spoke with say they are monitoring LinkedIn to see what sort of jobs they should be readying for in today’s fast-moving market. After all, intel and contacts are a hedge against bets that any expensive college degree will guarantee employment.
5. Want to Know What to Buy a Teen? A Jellycat Plush Toy
Selfridges says Jellycat’s sales are up 110% compared with 2022, making it the fastest-selling toy brand in its department stores. But the sales aren’t going exclusively to children. Indeed, Jellycat’s $35 coffee cup bag caused a craze among teens on social media and sold out when it first went on sale; Eleanor Gregory, Selfridges’ toy buying manager, said, “Everyone goes crazy for it … who would have thought a coffee-to-go plush bag would be a must-have item (Here’s one mom-teen daughter duo weighing in on the platform.)
6. Teen Skin Care Pivots from Acne to Anti-Aging
Teens who aren’t old enough to legally drink are slathering on skincare products labeled as “anti-aging.” And it doesn’t stop there—according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 12,000 girls between the ages of 13 and 19 got “preventative Botox” injections in 2020. Cultural critics trace the genesis of this anti-aging craze to The Kardashians and Love Island (both of which featured women under 30 openly discussing their filler and Botox). But of course, this trend also comes simply from consuming social media how-tos, which increasingly feature and are targeted towards a younger demographic (#preventativebotox has 1.8 million TikTok views). Beauty industry analyst Jessica Defino has a sharp critique of the trend: “The fact that younger consumers are interested in preventing the aging process younger and younger is a symptom of the age anxiety that’s conditioned into us by beauty culture,” she writes. “It increases age anxiety. Of course, it also then increases sales. It makes money.”
7. Girls Will Double Down on Bows
The trope of girly fashion will continue to dominate in 2024. Specifically, it will be all about bows—think AAPI-owned breakout label Sandy Liang outfits tied with big waist bows or Pinterest’s prediction of bow stacking (translation: wearing bows multiple places on your outfit and in your hair). This is clearly a continuation of the 2023 pretty statement bow (which PureWow endorsed many-a-time). And it also speaks to a larger, Barbie-fueled girly-girl fashion trend which some see as a welcome respite from real-world social and political pressures.
8. Teens Will Flock to Fashion Reselling Site Depop
Who cares that one teen reseller was called out on social media as being greedy for sharing her vintage haul? The Depop resale site, which is officially only to be used by over-18s, is a well-known way for teens to supplement their income by selling and indulging in affordable shopping. It’s the new eco-conscious alternative to fast fashion (a huge priority for Gen Z), and teens are loving it—in 2021, 34 percent of users were teens and we predict that number will only grow in 2024.
9. Saloon Madam is the Room Décor of Choice
Happy neon wall décor and pastel quilts are so 2020, Mom. Pinterest predicts the new interior décor to watch is the Western Gothic look. Expect dusky paints, rugged maximalism and sexy ruffles; in other words, about as far away from the white slipcovered minimalism of yore. This Gen Z trend is a natural outgrowth of the top overall décor trend from 2023, the “minimal maximalist” style which brought baroque features including oversized mirrors, sexy chandeliers and layered textures back into homes.