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How This 4th of July Will Be Very Different for Gen Z & Millennials, In 2 Charts

This holiday weekend will be a unique one. How many young consumers will be celebrating—and will they buy anything? Here’s what they told us…

This 4th of July isn’t going to look like any before it for Gen Z and Millennials. We already told you how young consumers’ summer plans have shifted significantly in the wake of COVID, with over half telling us they have had a trip cancelled, and nearly half avoiding warm weather pastimes like the beach and pool, or even hanging out with friends.

Their plans for the ultimate summer holiday have also been significantly altered. For years, YPulse has been keeping tabs on Gen Z and Millennials 4th of July plans, from how they’ll celebrate to what they’ll be buying. This year, our data on their holiday weekend shows the impact of COVID on 13-39-year-olds:

How will this 4th of July be different for Gen Z and Millennials? Nearly across the board, they won’t be marking the holiday with the same celebratory traditions that they did in 2019. And though all consumers likely want something to celebrate right now, almost one in five 13-39-year-olds tell us they actually won’t be celebrating the 4th this year.

Activities involving crowds saw, unsurprisingly, the sharpest drop, with only 44% of 13-39-year-olds saying they will be spending time with family and friends and only 31% planning to have a BBQ. With fireworks displays cancelled in many towns to limit group gatherings, only 37% say they’ll be watching fireworks this year, compared to 60% in 2019. Gen Z is more likely than Millennials to be planning to spend time with family and friends (52%), and watch fireworks (45%), but those numbers are still far lower than 2019 among this group. (And they were also more likely to do these things last year.)

But though this holiday weekend is looking far more subdued than usual, the majority do plan to celebrate in some way, and interestingly, among those who are celebrating spending is looking strong:

When we ask young consumers what they plan to buy for the 4th, the number who plan to shop for food, fireworks, decorations, clothing, and alcohol (among those 21+) has stayed consistent with 2019’s numbers. And with so many celebrating at home, those who plan to spend on games or sporting equipment increased. Looking at Millennials specifically, those who planned to buy fireworks increased from 35% in 2019 to to 42% in 2020. In other words, the party and the displays will be found in the backyard this year.

Those celebrating tell YPulse that they anticipate spending an average of $200, lower than their planned spend in 2019, but much of a drop considering how significantly their plans have changed.

Though young consumers are clearly cautious about risky activities during COVID, these numbers indicate that their spending is still significant, especially on those items that allow them to have some of those joyful moments close to home.