I recently did some research about how the younger generation perceives alcohol (younger meaning people between 18 and 25 years old, Generation Z). It turns out that they see alcohol in a very different way compared to other generations. Most of them are not interested in going out and “drinking until you drop”.
You don’t believe me, do you? I don’t blame you. I’ll explain why, keep reading.
Do you remember that time when you got drunk and embarrassed yourself in front of everyone? I remember. Your friends remember. Your entire Facebook remembers. Generation Z seem to have learned the lesson through their parents and the older generation and they don’t want to embarrass themselves on their social media platforms. This group grew up in a digital world and they know that those videos of themselves dancing will be on the internet forever.
“When I started boozing there wasn’t an iPhone in sight but by the end of my drinking career, every pissed move I made seemed to be caught on camera. I would wake up gripped by fear that a viral video of me weeing on the street would be circulating socials.” Alcoholchange.org.uk
“Today’s kids understand that everything is captured, instantaneously uploaded to social media, and has a minimal chance of total eradication if need be. Learning from the mistakes of Millennials and their embarrassing Facebook days, Generation Z make a conscious effort to ensure that the same thing does not happen to them.“ Rdsiresearch.com
In fact, 51% of Gen Z say that their online image is always at the back of their mind when they go out drinking.
They are concerned about their health and more aware of their choices. This group is more likely to be vegetarian or vegan. Healthier habits like consuming organic food or practising meditation have become part of their lifestyle, because they know how their decisions can affect their wellbeing in the long term. And once again, some of them have seen the consequences of poor health choices through their parents, especially when it comes to drinking habits.
A research by food.gov.uk found that 70% of current Gen Z think binge drinking is very risky compared to 56% of Millennials in 2004.
They tend to pick products that tick a lot of the boxes for health-conscious consumers. You know, gluten-free, low-calorie, low-sugar, low-carb, etc. Proof of this is shown in the success of hard seltzers, low alcohol drinks from the USA that have become incredibly popular among young people. The reason? Less alcohol also means fewer calories.
In a world that is becoming more open to talk about mental health, Gen Z know how hangovers affect their mental balance. 83% of this group consider their mental health just as important as their physical health. They don’t like to waste their time because they prioritise productivity, and we all know that a hangover equals a wasted day.
“There’s nothing worse than waking up hungover to see that Lucy from your old work has already been to the gym and prepped a vegan lasagne.” Alcoholchange.org.uk
This all translates into a desire from the younger generation to have control. Gen Z live in uncertain times, I mean, some of them graduated during a pandemic! This generation wants to be able to make decisions about their future. They are shouting for C O N T R O L .
For this reason, there has been an increase in the participation of social movements during the pandemic. The picture of their upcoming years looks a bit less clear. Joining social causes helps them to feel that they have a voice in their future.
They are changing nights in for nights out.
“Nearly seven in ten 19-37-year-olds tell us they would rather stay in on the weekends than go out.” YPulse
“Gen Zers are repeatedly choosing a night in over a night out. What was once a notable preference for Gen Z has now become increasingly relevant for all generations in a post-Covid world.” Drinkripples.com
A change of place means a change of behaviour. The environment of a club, a darkened room with loud music, is designed to make you want to drink and go a bit “wild”. However, when we are in someone’s house the sense of self-awareness increases. This can be enough reason for the younger generation to want to avoid getting wasted when having a night in with friends.
So… how does the younger generation have fun?
It seems Gen Z value experiences over products, something that we already saw in millennials. If they care about their experiences and memories, they probably want to remember what happened during the night and avoid feeling like Stu from the movie Hangover.
The younger generation enjoys Tik-Tok challenges and new dances, Instagram filters or theme parties such as Bob Ross painting gatherings. There is no doubt that the new generation is looking for more meaningful nights.
This does not mean that they are not interested in alcohol at all. In fact, the demand for cocktails has grown in the last years. The choice of a flavoursome cocktail over a hard spirit shows that getting drunk doesn’t seem to be on the top of their priority list. At least for the time being.
Do you agree?