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One Chart That Shows Gen Z & Millennials Are SO Ready For Summer 2021

Gen Z & Millennials’ summers already look VERY different from last year. YPulse data comparing their 2020 and 2021 plans show they’re ready to get out…


In May of 2020, 79% of Gen Z and Millennials told us that their summer plans had been changed by COVID. From cancelled trips to restrictions around going to the beach and pool, public spaces that usually define the summer months, summer 2020 was shaped by the pandemic. And while there has been uncertainty around whether “normal” would make a return this year, YPulse data shows that young people are planning to get out and make up for lost time this summer.

YPulse’s biggest predictions for 2021included a bet that young people will be rushing to embrace experiences of all kinds in 2021—once they feel safe. As much as Gen Z and Millennials have leaned into their homebody status during the last year, they also clearly miss experiences—which they were driven by pre-pandemic. We told brands to expect a forceful expression of vitality as young people get vaccinated and exuberantly return to planes, restaurants, concerts, festivals and more events and experiences that will feel like celebrations of life after the year (plus) most have spent staying home as much as possible. Looking ahead at young people’s plans for the summer months, it looks like our prediction is likely to come true. We recently asked 13-39-year-olds to tell us what they plan to do this summer, and compared their responses to the same question asked in spring of last year. Here’s what we found:

Across the board, Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to say they are planning to participate in traditional summer activities. Their clear enthusiasm for summer plans shows that these generations are likely going to be making up for lost time in the coming months as more and more feel comfortable resuming things they haven’t done since pre-2020.

Plans for classic summer fun saw some of the biggest increases, with those planning to go to the beach/pool, participate in water activities like swimming and sailing, and have BBQs and picnics increasing over 20 points. And more good news for brands: those who say they plan to go to the movies nearly doubled. Just this past weekend, box office numbers for the recently-release Godzilla vs. Kong made the film the biggest success since the start of the pandemic, and sent movie theater stocks soaring. In-person theater visits are likely to see a massive rebound this summer, with half of young consumers already planning to attend.

Another planned activity that saw a major boost? Travel. Over half of young people say they plan to travel or go on vacation this summer, compared to 27% who planned travel in 2020. We should note that 30% still say they won’t be able to travel because of COVID, but we may see even that number decrease as vaccines become available to more age groups. CNBC recently reported that Americans are gaining confidence to travel with each passing month—with 27% comfortable traveling in April and that number rising to 42% by July. Adara reported that domestic flight bookings in the U.S. for summer travel “sharply rose” earlier this month, and since the beginning of February, domestic hotel bookings have “more than tripled.” Our data shows that the majority of young people are confident they’ll be travelling by this summer (and we already know the destinations they’re likely to be heading to).

The number of young people who say they’re planning on attending summer events like concerts and fairs nearly doubled compared to 2020. That said, summer events are the activity young people are most likely to still say they won’t be able to do because of the pandemic, with 37% saying they won’t be able to compared to 43% who say they’re planning to. It goes to show that not all fears around the pandemic will disappear, and brands should be prepared to continue to show the ways they’re making in-person activities as safe as possible.