Millennials Just Want to Stay Home This New Year’s Eve

Dec 17 2019

Staying true to their homebody reputations, Millennials want to celebrate the end of the decade by just staying in…

Despite 2019 being the end of the decade and the start of the “roaring 20s,” 69% of 19-37-year-olds tell YPulse that they would rather stay in on New Year’s than go out. The majority also feel that celebrating New Year’s is more hassle than it’s worth and that there’s too much pressure to have fun—a message the media has picked up on, too. Last year, Mic published an article stating that “New Year’s Eve is overrated — here’s everything wrong with it,” Insider explained “Why New Year’s Eve is the worst holiday,” and MarketWatch divulged “The case for a low-key New Year’s Eve night in,” which quoted a New York psychotherapist saying that while New Year’s Eve “has been branded as being particularly sexy, glamorous and upscale…the reality is that it makes for a very expensive, late night.” Indeed, money might have something to do with the desire to stay in, and, let’s face it, the wee hours of the morning might not look so appealing to maturing Millennials. But according to NBC’s article “New Year’s Eve is the worst holiday and everyone secretly knows it,” it could also be Millennials’ disillusionment with the state of the world in general that’s keeping them from going out. They claim that with little hope for the future of the world, Millennials have no fantasies about New Year’s providing a clean slate. Instead, they assume 2020 will just be another year of anxiety and bad news. A bleak take.

While it’s true that seven in ten Millennials tell us they feel anxious about the future, that’s not necessarily driving their desire to lay low for New Year’s. In general, Millennials are losing interest in going out altogether, a trend we first saw in 2016 that’s still going strong. Nearly seven in ten 19-37-year-olds tell us they would rather stay in on the weekends than go out, and the same amount say going out is more effort than it’s worth. In fact, a recent analysis of 10 years’ worth of the American Time Use Surveys found that Millennials spend 70% more time at home than the general population. And it’s not hard to guess why. As a Millennials writer put it in T Magazine: “Why would we [go out], 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.” Indeed, everything is available to Millennials’ when they want it and where they want it—and they want it at home. This has spurred the growth of the “homebody economy,” which is spitting out new products to cater to this growing demographic of couch-dwellers seemingly every day, making the allure of staying home even stronger—New Year’s Eve be damned. In fact, last year, services like Netflix and Domino’s Pizza launched NYE-specific promotional campaigns explicitly targeting the stay-at-home crowd—and we’re bound to see more of that this year.

But the desire to stay home is also fueled by another trend that emerged this year: The Sobriety Shift. Four in ten 21-37-year-olds tell us they don’t like to go out at night because they don’t like to drink, and the same amount say they’re making a conscious effort to drink less. In fact, a report from Civic Science found that 30% of Millennials are “sober curious,” or interested in removing alcohol from their lives. While the trend is being fueled by the rise of alcohol-free events and influencers, it’s also about a drop in the “cool factor” of drinking. Three in five 21-37-year-olds say it’s cool to drink less these days, and the majority also don’t feel pressure—even socially—to do so. No longer feeling pressured to drink, they may feel less pressured to go all out this New Year’s, too. But does that mean they’re planning on staying home? We asked Millennials to tell us their New Year’s plans. Here’s what they had to say:

Millennials are more likely to stay home for the holiday than go out to a restaurant or party, with 44% telling us they plan to stay in for New Year’s—an increase from the 36% who said that was their plan in for New Year’s last year. But let’s be clear: this is what they want to be doing. In fact, 56% of 19-37-year-olds agree that New Year’s is one of the most fun holidays, and 72% tell us that this year is extra special because it’s the end of the decade.

The most popular plan among this cohort is to spend the holiday with family. And for the 21+ crowd, less than two in ten are planning to hit the bars and clubs:

Granted, bars and clubs are notoriously unpleasant on New Year’s, as Millennial writer Julie Beck explains in The Atlantic: “Standing in line for a bar has never been worth it, not once in the history of time…If a night of shifting foot to foot in the 12 square inches of floor space you’ve carved for yourself sounds like fun, then going out on New Year’s Eve is going to deliver just the experience you were hoping for.” And that’s not even counting the high cost of a ticket and drinks, making skipping the bar an appealing proposition.

Interestingly, Millennials 21-24-years-old are almost equally as likely to say they’ll be spending the holiday celebrating with family as Millennials 35-37-years-old. And while the younger group is less likely to say they will be staying in at home than their older cohorts (39% VS 49%), they’re not more likely to say they’ll be going to a bar or club. In other words, it’s not just age that’s keeping Millennials from going out.