Hashtags are still very important. However, you have to use them wisely and not make your account look spammy.
Using targeted and relevant hashtags will help you to get discovered faster and for sure you will see higher engagement than you would if you didn’t use any hashtags or if you would use just any random general hashtags. I also noticed that more and more IG users are using IG as a search engine.
So definitely, hashtag research is still a thing. You can use Jarvee Users and Hashtags tool to make your research and life easier. This is the only tool I use for hashtags research.