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Over Half of Gen Z High Schoolers Don’t Want A Date to Prom

It’s prom season, and our latest infographic snapshot dives into where teens are shopping, how much they plan to spend, and the trends they’re making the new norm…

We are in the midst of prom season—an event that remains a cultural milestone, but that Gen Z is giving their own twist. Three in ten high school students went to or plan to go to their prom this year, with young females driving attendance and showing the most interest in the event. This year, they planned to spend an estimated average of $270 in total on prom, including their prom attire which they estimated they would spend an average of around $116. While rental and vintage/secondhand clothing are growing trends among young consumers in effort to be more frugal and sustainable, prom attire is not one category of clothing they’re looking to be thrifty in. A department store is their top prom attire shopping destination, and significantly outranks the rest of the retailers we presented to them, including prom-specific retailers, online, and boutique.

Over half of high school students tell us people in their school are planning elaborate ways to ask someone to prom. Promposal, a prom trend that came on to the scene around 2014, is now the new norm and racking up likes for the social media generation (even when it goes wrong). With MTV dedicating a show to the trend and March 11th being dubbed National Promposal Day, the stakes are even higher for Gen Z to get creative. This year, most of the prom trends high school students told us they spotted had to do with promposals, calling out movie/TV show themes, puns, memes, food, posters, balloons, etc.

According to students, another increasingly popular trend is going to the event with friends. Attending with friends was one of the top five trends high schoolers spotted, with one 16-year-old female saying, “Prom is slowly diverting away from couples and is becoming more about having a great time with friends and taking photos.” Our data backs this shift: 57% of high schoolers would rather go to prom with friends this year, versus 46% who said the same in 2018. While the tradition of going with a significant other held strong last year, it seems that teens are looking to relieve some pressure and take a more casual approach to prom by going in groups of friends. Even those infamous promposals are getting the friend treatment, with one 17-year-old male telling us a trend he’s spotted is “Promposals to friends rather than significant others.”

Find out more about prom-goers’ plans this year, including how much they plan to spend and where they’ll shop, in our infographic snapshot below:


To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.