Gen Z – How are they feeling and how will their behaviour change as lockdown eases?

May 24, 2021

As part of our ongoing insight programme into Gen Z, our most recent Zedders Panel saw a group of 16 – 19-year-olds questioned on their thoughts and feelings following lockdown and their intended behaviours as restrictions ease.

Their hopes, dreams and concerns were all discussed in depth, with very definite views made, and here’s what we’ve discovered:

Looking forward…

Like the rest of us, they’ve simmered life down to the things that really bring them joy – all they want is to socialise again, seeing friends and family with no limits or restrictions on numbers.

‘I just want to have freedom to do what I want without restrictions and rules’.

Those who fall on the older end of the spectrum, or who indeed came of age during the pandemic, are absolutely chomping at the bit to get into bars, clubs and live music venues. Stats-wise, a whopping 75% expressed socialising with friends and family as something they were very much looking forward to…

‘Since turning 18, I definitely want to try out clubbing’.

‘Schools’ nearly ended… might be a bit of a party vibe summer’.

Another major area that has been sorely missed is exercising without restrictions. Three quarters of the Gen Z focus group mentioned a desire to get back to the gym, as well as competing in sports matches.

What’s changed?

It’s well established that Gen Z spends more time than any other group online and the pandemic has only fuelled that, particularly with school life and socialising so dramatically impacted. But how has this altered our Zedder’s world view?

Well for starters it’s made them significantly more politically inclined than previous generations, and with good reason. There’s a widespread general concern about environmental issues, with notable commentary surrounding the rising sea-levels, plastic pollution and global warming.

‘The older generation don’t realise so you find yourself having to teach your parents’.

‘It seems a bit of a chore but its better in the long run to recycle’.

‘I don’t do as much as I should – I got involved in protests but then it slowed down with Covid. I need to do more’.

They’re most concerned with reducing plastic use and cutting down or avoiding eating meat. The consensus seems to be that these things are more easily attainable/within their control, whereas when it comes to fast fashion, though most condemn it, they are fashion conscious but lack the finances to invest in long-term, sustainable garments.

‘I would choose a more environmentally-friendly brand if it was at a reasonable price range’.

That said, they are highly critical of fast fashion companies like Primark, Shein, and Boohoo and want them to be more sustainable and eco-friendly. Statistical breakdowns show that 85% are concerned about climate change, two thirds about pollution and half about recycling and loss of habitats.

Their influence is also driving the second-hand market with clothing brands such as Vinted and Depop increasingly popular. This mode of shopping extends to online market places such as Etsy, seen as an ideal middle ground because it is relatively inexpensive, environmentally conscious and also supports individual talent.

Ultimately, like the rest of us, it seems than Gen Z have boiled life down to the important things, seeing friends and family, having a good time, and protecting our planet for future generations.