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Millennials’ & Gen Z’s Top 15 Offline Hobbies

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

Young consumers are increasingly turning to the on-demand economy to save time, but what are they up to in all that extra free time? We asked 13-35-year-olds their biggest hobbies to find out…

Millennials and Gen Z are the most anxious, stressed-out generations to date. Between being starved for time as they juggle their commitments to being expected to constantly be online and available due to the rise of smartphones, 13-35-year-olds have become desperate to find ways to save time for the things they actually want to be doing—i.e. not standing in line at the bank or shopping for groceries. That’s led to the exponential rise of the on-demand economy, which is no longer a luxury to young consumers—it’s an expectation. While this is often billed as proof of the laziness of the younger generations, the truth is, young consumers are buying into convenience in an effort to save their precious time.

Just what are they doing with this stock-piled time? Believe it or not, they’re not just taking selfies and sending Snaps. The majority of young consumers have at least one hobby outside of their digital lives, and as it turns out, Millennials are out-spending older generations when it comes to their hobbies, according to Business Insider. But with so much focus placed on what 13-35-year-olds are doing on their phones and computers, how they’re spending their free time IRL is more of mystery. To figure out what exactly they’re doing, in our recent Topline on young consumers’ interests and passions, we asked 13-35-year-olds, “What’s your biggest hobby?”* Here are their top answers:

*This was an open-end response question to allow us to capture the full range of hobbies that that are occupying 13-35-year-olds—without our preconceived ideas shaping their responses. As with any qualitative question, the responses include those that are top of mind and those that are most popular. The list is ordered according to number of responses received, and alphabetically when ties occurred.

What Are Their Biggest Hobbies?


  1. Music/Playing an Instrument

  2. Gaming/Games

  3. Reading

  4. Sports/Playing Sports

  5. Exercise/Fitness

  6. Cooking/Baking

  7. Writing

  8. TV Shows

  9. Art

  10. Photography

  11. Drawing

  12. Movies

  13. Crafting

  14. Dancing

  15. Travel

Before we dive into these hobbies, it should be noted that the top four responses were basically tied. Music won out by a hair, and gaming and reading had the same number of responses, with sports just a nose behind. That said, music has always been popular with Millennials and Gen Z. Sixty-one percent of 13-35-year-olds told us they regularly listen to music in their free time, and the generations are known for loving musicians—they are the top type of celebrity young consumers follow on social media, as well as the kind of celebrity they say they admire the most and that have the most talent when compared to other types of stars. Thirty-five percent of Millennials also subscribe to a music streaming service, and according to Digital Music News, Millennials listen to 75% more music on a daily basis than Baby Boomers.

It should come as no surprise that gaming scooped up the number two spot on the list—gaming is huge right now. The industry is expected to reach a value of over $230 billion by 2022, and esports has a larger audience of young consumers than ever. Overall, 38% of 13-35-year-olds told Ypulse they regularly play video games for pleasure in their free time, but the pastime is more popular among males and Gen Z—50% of young men tell Ypulse they regularly play video games and 49% of Gen Z. In fact, Limelight Networks found that young men in the U.S. are more interested in watching esports than they are regular sports, which our own research found to be true by a minor margin.

But as much as they’re playing video games, Millennials and Gen Z are also—believe it or not—reading. In fact, young consumers are reading more than any other generation, according to the latest Pew Research Center survey on the topic, which found that 80% of 18-29-year-olds had read a book in any format in the past year, compared to 73% of 30-49-year-olds, 70% of 50-64-year-olds, and 67% of those 65-and-older. And while Pew found that Millennials are far more likely than older adults to say they’re reading for a specific purpose—work, school, or research—they’re also equally likely to read for pleasure or to keep up with current events. And overall, reading is most popular with Millennials and women:

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

As we found in the past, Millennial males are also the most interested in cooking of any of the other segments, though the generation as a whole is food-centric. In fact, 50% of Millennials consider themselves foodies, 54% would rather cook a meal at home than go out/order takeout, and 78% say they like to cook. Gen Z is following in Millennials’ footsteps when it comes to food, but as of now, the younger gen would rather write than cook, while Millennials are happier working out or watching sports.

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.