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Here’s What Gen Z & Millennials Think About Attending Large Events After Social Distancing Is Over

YPulse is carefully monitoring COVID-19’s impact on young consumers and how brands can respond. We’ll be providing new data and insights for you weekly to cope with the crisis, including special reports, exclusive data on Coronavirus and the next generations, and actionable insights on what brands need to be doing now.

You can access everything here on our young consumers and COVID-19 hub.

Are movies, concerts, and live sporting events a thing of the past? We asked 13-39-year-olds to tell us their thoughts on attending large events in light of COVID-19, and here’s what we found out…


There’s no need for us to rehash all of the massive closures and cancellations that have swiftly changed entertainment, sports, and marketing. They’re continuing to happen: Last week, Taylor Swift announced her tour and appearances will be cancelled for the rest of 2020, and today bringing the news that NYC’s LGBTQ Pride March (scheduled to happen in June) has been cancelled for the first time in 50 years.

Of course, everyone has raced to adjust to the new normal of social distancing, with brands across industries swiftly pivoting to make up for the lack of in-person experiences. Virtual events have quickly become a marketing norm, with Instagram Live booming with branded content. Brands like Disney are creating “virtual playgrounds” online to replicate the magic of parks. Musicians are livestreaming like there’s no tomorrow, with massive concerts being streamed from celebrity living rooms on the regular. New movies are being rented from home—oh, and drive ins theaters are reportedly doing gangbuster business.

But across industries, the question is being asked: Will they ever feel comfortable being in crowds again? Will the generations that have fueled experiencification ever, you know, want to attend experiences together again?

Right now, their answer is yes. YPulse has been continuously surveying young Gen Z and Millennials to monitor the impact of the Coronavirus on their lives—and how it could permanently change their behaviors. Now, our most recent data on COVID-19 and young consumers shows that the majority of young consumers are looking forward to attending large events after social distancing is over:

Over four in five 13-39-year-olds tell YPulse that they are looking forward to attending at least one kind of live event after social distancing has been lifted. Less than 10% say that they won’t be comfortable attending events after the social distancing is over. While that is not an insignificant number, it is clearly not the majority.

We’re continuing to ask about what their lives and preferences will look like after the COVID-19 crisis, with a deep dive into their post-Corona behavior coming up. Right now, we’re seeing that there are clear indications that they at least desire to go back to many of their past behaviors. On TikTok, young consumers are so hungry for travel that they’re reenacting airplane trips from their homes. Of course, the longer the crisis stretches on, and the more it impacts their finances, the more the future could look drastically different from the past. But knowing that they are craving many of their pre-Corona activities and experiences is a good place to start.

Some events are likely to be readapted earlier than others. We asked young consumers to tell us which in-person experiences they’re looking forward to attending once social distancing is over, and movies were the top response:

Last year, IndieWire reported that young Millennials aren’t just going to movies—they’re the biggest moviegoing demo. According to PostTrak, a quarter of all ticket buyers in the past seven years have been 18-24-year-olds, and nearly half of all movie goers are under the age of 25. Young consumers were driving in-person experiences—and our data indicates that they’ll be going back to movie theaters when they are able to. The majority of both Gen Z and Millennials say that they’re looking forward to going to the movies after social distancing is over. Of course, movies were also the in-person event that they were attending most frequently pre-COVID, with 39% telling us that they went to the movies monthly before Corona. Our data on pre-COVID attendance for the other event types also indicates that future participation could be on par with the past once rules and restrictions are lifted.

The data also hints that Millennials will be more eager than Gen Z to return to attending a variety of events, with the older generation outpacing the younger in eagerness to attend concerts, sporting events, and food festivals. But of course, while both generations are looking forward to attending at least some events in the future, they won’t be rushing back to crowds unless they feel safe. We asked what will have to happen before they will attend live events, and found most will be waiting for rules to lift or a vaccine to be available:

Gen Z and Millennials are taking social distancing seriously, wanting to protect their loved ones from the virus, and over half of young consumers say they will not attend any events until quarantine rules have been lifted. Of course, the timing of this will differ depending on their location, with states charged with determining their own rules and regulations around COVID-19. But over half of young consumers also say that they won’t be completely comfortable attending events until a vaccine is available, which could push a return to “normal” farther into the future for many of them.