Gen Z Belongs To 12 Emerging Subcultures, Study Finds

Email teams trying to market to Gen Z should forget that label. 

The cohort of 18- to-25-year-olds actually belongs to 12 emerging subcultures within five key sectors.

Email marketers are used to drilling down to almost 1:to:1 levels, so it should not be a problem for them to line up these segments. 

"To drive critical mass and conversion, niche and relevancy at scale will trump traditional reach and frequency tactics,” says Maxine Gurevich, senior vice president, cultural intelligence of WHY Group, Horizon Media's intelligence center of excellence.   

Gurevich adds: “Capturing Gen Z's attention requires breaking conventions to develop brand experiences that authentically suit their algorithms.”

With that said, here are the five categories and the sub-cultures they include:

  • Gaming —  Streetwear X Gamers, Gamer Girls
  • Entertainment — Horror Healers, Poetic Connectors
  • Education — Adult-ing Hackers, Scientific Edutainers
  • Fashion — Maximalists, Real-Time Fashionistas, UP-thrifters
  • Beauty — Cursed Cosplayers, Beauty ASMR-tists, Cover Boys 

What are Gamer Girls, say? 

According to Horizon Media, Gamer Girls follow streamers who go beyond gameplay to create vlogs, cosplay, or makeup tutorial content. They also also cover stylish musicians with a strong online presence. 

What can a brand do with this information?

"A traditionally male-focused consumer brand that wants to connect with this rapidly growing audience can tap into subculture signals to build a breakthrough campaign for female gamers," says Matt Higgins, vice president of strategy at Blue Hour Studios, Horizon Media's content agency. 

Higgins adds: "The brand could build community and fandom by launching a female-focused esports team with anime-inspired apparel and co-branded content channels on YouTube or TikTok that mirror the visually stimulating social media experiences this audience seeks."

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