Where Gen Z & Millennials Say They Find Viral Trends, In 2 Charts

Apr 26 2021

We asked Gen Z & Millennials where trends are created—and how they find out about them…

It’s no secret that Gen Z and Millennials’ shared culture lives online, and specifically on social media. Every week, YPulse shares the viral content that brands should know about, and social platforms are the birthplace of trends and memes that take over young consumers’ conversations—and can impact their IRL behavior. But where exactly are they most likely to find new viral content and trends?

YPulse’s new Social Media Deep Dive trend report took an in-depth look at the way they use the top social platforms, and what they get out of each—but we also explored exactly what apps and sites they look to for trending content. We asked 13-39-year-olds, “On which social media platform(s) do you feel like trends are created / found first before they catch on with everyone?”—and also specified that it could be trends in culture, music, sports, fashion, food, etc. Their responses reveal a clear frontrunner:

Well, we should say, a clear frontrunner among Gen Z. A full 60% of 13-19-year-olds say that TikTok is the social media platform where trends are created before catching on with everyone. Millennials’ responses are more fragmented, with 36% saying TikTok and 36% saying Facebook. But in reality, Gen Z is the generation that’s more likely to be creating and noticing online trends—by Millennials’ own admission. Our Social Media Deep Dive survey found that 71% of Millennials agree with the statement “When I look for the latest online trends, people who are younger than me are more likely to be up to speed,” compared to just 47% of Gen Z teens. The youth culture torch is being passed from to the next generation—which is also why Gen Z is using social media to declare some of Millennials’ favorite trends dead—and the next generation says new trends are being born on TikTok.

So we know where online trends are starting, but who is spreading them? We also asked young consumers to tell us what people they’re most likely to find out about viral online content from, and again, Gen Z and Millennials’ responses show some big differences:

Gen Z is most likely to find out about viral trends from online creators they follow online, and are much more likely to say they find out about trends from this group than Millennials. We’ve told you that influencers are as influential as ever among Gen Z, and 70% of 13-19-year-olds follow online celebrities on social. YPulse’s influencer and celebrities research also shows that Gen Z is more likely than Millennials to have watched a video or show, listened to new music, tried a new food or recipe, and tried a new style that they learned about from an online celebrity than Millennials. So it makes sense that these are the individuals they’re looking to for viral content as well—and just underlines the importance of influencers in spreading the word on anything for brands.

YPulse Business users can access the full Social Media Deep Dive trend report and data here.

Don’t have a YPulse Business account? Find out more here.

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