Gen Z less likely to spend on drinking and vacations

A global report from GlobalWebIndex and Snap shows some common perceptions about the cohort might not hold true.


In a new summer report, market research firm GlobalWebIndex and social media company Snap found that a few prevailing myths about Gen Z might be due to be busted.

The study looked at behavioural attitudes of nearly half a million people between the ages of 18 and 22 in 45 countries (including more than 1,000 Canadians).

Compared with millennials, Gen Z cohort are 2% less likely to express an interest in entrepreneurship; however, it’s still a figure that’s 6% higher than Gen X and 16% higher than Boomers).

Despite the perception that younger generations have a proclivity to drink more, the report found Gen Z is less likely to drink than other demos. Just 15% of Gen Z (located in markets where they are above the legal drinking age) say they drink alcohol at least once a week, compared to 28% of millennials and 36% of baby boomers.

Unlike more experience-focused millennials, the study finds Gen Zs are more willing to spend their money on entertainment, tech and fashion purchases, particularly headphones (37% have purchased this item in the past 3-6 months). And while Instagram feeds would lead one to believe otherwise, the Gen Z cohort is not jet-setting all over: when it comes to travel and experiences, 28% of them reported having recently purchased a domestic vacation, compared with 35% of millennials.

As a group, it’s perceived as device-obsessed, the report finds that millennials are more likely to own smart devices like smartwatches, smart wristbands and virtual reality devices.

Despite the perception of younger demographics being cable cutters and account sharers, Gen Z Netflix and Spotify subscribers are slightly less likely than other demos to say that they are sharing their account with at least one other person. And while they are averaging roughly 30 minutes less than the global avergae, the group is still watching 1.5 hours of broadcast television per day.

One perception about Gen Z might hold some water, though. Widely perceived to be the most green-conscious consumers as they lead student strikes across the country, 27% don’t feel positive about the future of the environment (compared to 22% of millennials). That number rises to 46% when looking only at North America and 47% in Europe, which the report attributes to news about environmental crisises being spread more widely in these regions.

Despite this, Gen Z is no more activist-oriented than their millennial predecessors in terms of green spend habits. They’re almost as willing to spend more for eco-friendly products as millennials (58% versus 60%, and considerably higher than baby boomers at 44%). However, the report notes that “figures for Gen Z will only grow in line with their increasing disposable income. These two generations combined are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to social, environmental and political matters.”