Why Millennials Would Rather Stay In Than Go Out
Millennials are content on the couch, and a boozy binge-watching session with friends is appealing more to Generation Homebody than a night out partying. Welcome to the age of staying in.
Millennials are choosing the couch or café over a night at the club. Though partying hard may have been a hallmark of youth for generations, Millennials are less intent on pushing boundaries than they are living in the Netflix and chill zone. Understanding what young adults consider a good time means changing the assumption that they are drinking (and posting about it) to excess. This generation is redefining what a good night looks like—and more than ever it’s more about food and couch time than going out on the town.
In April of this year, T Magazine published an article asking, “Is Staying In the New Going Out?” in which the Millennial author declared:
“We no longer go out. And why would we, when the allure of staying in has reached irresistible proportions? Why risk a restaurant when you can order Seamless or sauté premade gnocchi from Blue Apron? Why go to a bar when you can swipe right? Why go to a reading when you can download a podcast? Why pay $15 to see a boneheaded Marvel rehash in theaters when the world of premium streaming content is at your fingertips? Food, entertainment, romance: The traditional weekend staples are now available entirely on demand. The centripetal force of our homes has never been stronger.”
While the article stirred up some debate online (New York Magazine responded with “Staying In Is Not the New Going Out” and the Awl’s single headline response snarked, “Writer Not 23 Anymore”) we are in fact seeing evidence that Millennials would rather stay at home than go out partying—in fact, they’re telling us exactly that.
For our recent For A Good Time trend, we surveyed young consumers to find out all about their partying habits, and 72% of Millennials and teens said they would rather stay in on the weekends than go out at night. Interestingly, that percentage is highest among 21-24-year-olds: 79% say they would rather stay in than go out. Considering the early twenties is generally thought of as a time of wild partying and even weeknights of bar hopping (after all, those hangovers only get worse with age) it’s telling that this age group is especially preferring couch time to club time. This wasn’t a one-time finding. Our research also revealed that on a Saturday night, 54% of 18-33-year-olds, and 58% of 25-33-year-olds, would rather Netflix and chill than go out with others. When we asked 18-33-year-olds how often they go out to bars, restaurants, clubs, parties, or events, 40% said they go out only a few times a month or once a month, and 23% say they go out less than once a month or never, versus 37% who say they go out every week. So what’s keeping them at home?
SCREENS ARE THEIR NEW BFFS
From live-streaming apps to full season releases on Netflix, everything from watching others sleep to the latest scripted drama is available to Millennials and teens—and on a 5-inch smartphone with desktop-quality display at that. Screens are rising in dominance for their attention and offer a world that has begun to rival the need for being out in the real one all the time. YPulse’s survey found that 81% of 21-33-year-olds would rather give up drinking for a week than give up their phones. At the same time, those screens are giving them more content to occupy them on a Saturday night. Binge-watching is the new national pastime for young consumers, with research showing that 46% of Millennials are watching shows after they initially air, and 42% binge-watch multiple shows once or twice a month. Qualitatively, we’ve seen that binging is both a group activity for many Millennials—so watching screens together counts as a very good night. A recent survey from wine app Vivino also suggested that rise of “home-tainment,” is encouraging Millennials to skip the bars and stay in to drink. The research found that 47% of Millennials would rather drink wine at home than at social gatherings, restaurants, or wineries.
NIGHTCLUBS HAVE LOST THEIR APPEAL
Bars and night clubs don’t hold the same appeal in real life as they do in movies or popular music. Millennials and teens largely favor more relaxed and group-oriented settings during a night out. In fact, for Millennials, nightclubs are becoming passé. The Guardian reached out to 18-35-year-olds in the U.K. to find out why, and found that about 67% would rather stay in than go out. High cost, impersonal experiences, bad music, the “overwhelming” environment, and safety concerns were all reasons they would skip clubbing. According to one 26-year-old: “I’d rather spend my money on going to try some new food rather than going to an overpriced nightclub, and spend my down days chilling at home with mates.” Young Millennials also cited exhaustion from being in school as a reason for staying in.
Foodie culture might be contributing to nightclubs’ demise. For Millennials these days, a good night out is more about food than drinking, and when they are going out, restaurants and movies are appealing more than bars and night clubs: 78% of 21-33-year-olds say they would prefer to go out to a restaurant, versus 34% of 21-33-year-olds who would prefer a night at a bar.
THEY’RE WATCHING THEIR WALLETS—AND SAVING FOR BIGGER EXPERIENCES
Another factor to the growth of home socializing is their wallets: almost six out of 10 Millennials say that cost outweighs all other influences when deciding what to drink. That means drinking at home and avoiding the pricetag hikes of bars and nightclubs is more appealing than ever. Overall, Millennials are watching their wallets and looking for ways to spend less—and they’re succeeding. Although 18-34-year olds are buying more than Boomers and Gen Xers, and going out twice as often, they are actually spending about 25% less, according to a new TD Bank report. The average U.S. consumer spends $32,000 on bills, entertainment, food, clothes, travel, and more yearly while Millennials on average spend about $26,000.
But they also might be watching their spending on frequent nights out to save for bigger and better experiences. When we researched Millennial spending, we found that more than half of employed Millennials are saving up for something special, and a trip/travel was at the top of their savings list.
THEY’RE DRINKING LESS OVERALL
We’ve always said that Millennials aren’t a rebellious generation, and the truth is they’re drinking less than previous generations—which makes bar hopping much less appealing. A 2014 study found that young consumers in the U.K. are being out-partied by their parents. The number of young people going to rehab for alcohol addiction is down 25% from five years ago. Meanwhile, the use of “cannabis, amphetamine, cocaine and LSD in 50-64 year olds has increased tenfold since 1993.” A 2015 study in the U.K. found the trend continuing, reporting the “selfie generation” (we think that means Millennials) are saying no to alcohol in “unprecedented numbers:” 35% of these 16-29-year-olds say that alcohol is not at all important to their social life, and 19% say they never drink. Health concerns and fit being the “new cool” are major drivers of the teetotaling trend. According to 2016 data from Heineken, 75% of 21-35-year-olds state they moderate the amount of alcohol they drink on the majority of their nights out, and 38% say they do so every time they go out. One psychologist says Millennials’ interest in moderate drinking could be because “they grew up in a period of economic stress, competing for jobs, so they feel they have to be the best that they can be.” YPulse’s For a Good Time trend found that 31% 0f 21-33-year-olds have cut out alcohol for a certain period of time, like “Dry January.”