#Recessioncore: The Trend You Can’t Afford to Ignore

By Florence Fahmy, Social Content Creator and Kira Mobberley, Partnerships Account Manager

Mar, 2023

MillZ (Millennials & Gen Z) consumers have identified the cost of living as their top concern, with conversations about frugality on Instagram increasing by 486%. As passion marketers, we asked ourselves: how should the cost of living crisis impact the content brands create for youth audiences, and what changes should we make, to effectively engage them?

Naturally we turned to TikTok when looking to understand the current mood of Gen-Z. #recessioncore is one of the latest aesthetics taking over the platform, which first reared its head with the absence of statement jewellery on celeb looks at major red carpet events. ‘Recession-core’ has since filtered its way down to the everyday consumer who are opting for muted colours, functionality and androgyny, and embracing natural, pared-back hair styles and makeup.

The #recessioncore trend

Think a fashion trend on TikTok isn’t relevant to your brand? Think again. Recession-core serves as a framework for MillZ to connect with communities and understand broader cultural phenomena, including current events and financial circumstances. These spark conversations, often between strangers, that can be honest and supportive.

Here are four ways marketers can adapt their content strategy to recognise the impact the cost of living is having on their audience.

Get comfortable with the mundane
Newsfeeds are shifting to low-fi content, especially with unedited, raw video content. Creators and brands on social should adapt to changing styles and cater to audiences’ desire for authenticity and normality, instead of highly-curated perfection.

MillZ are a cynical group and gravitate towards brands that embrace reality
The MillZ audience is characterised by their satire, cynicism, and realism, having grown up during a time of information overload, global warming, pandemics, and rising living costs. Unlike the “keep calm and carry on” approach, they relate to brands that align with their values and acknowledge and address realities rather than cover them up.

Reality outshines celebrity
Relatability is becoming more important than celebrity status. The younger generations prioritise authenticity and connection with influencers that mirror their own lifestyles, rather than traditional, celebrities. MillZ have developed a new genre of celebrities that comprises of relatable individuals sharing their everyday lives online.

It’s not a one-size-fits all strategy
To effectively connect with our target audiences, we must adopt an audience-centric approach by comprehensively grasping our audiences’ needs, demands, desires, and expectations. As each audience is unique, creative strategies should be thoughtful and tailored accordingly, to showcase the brand’s support and understanding.

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