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Which In-Person Experiences Are Gen Z & Millennials Most Excited to Get Back to Post-COVID?

With the end of the pandemic feeling closer, we asked young consumers what in-person experiences they’re most excited to return to…


YPulse has predicted that 2021 will bring a roaring 20s experience rebound as young people begin to feel safer. Gen Z and Millennials have been two of the most experience-driven generation, and it’s clear they miss the in-person events that used to fill their social feeds. We also reported that their plans for summer clearly show that they’re ready to get back into the world, and 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. But after months of staying away from restaurants, movies, airports, concerts and more, what are they most excited to get back to?

With vaccine’s rolling out to more age groups and the end of the pandemic feeling closer, YPulse’s most recent media consumption report asked Gen Z and Millennials “After the threat of COVID-19 passes, what are you most excited to do?” Their top responses show us what in-person industries might be seeing the biggest, most immediate post-COVID booms: 

Young consumers’ wanderlust was not killed by COVID—and clearly a travel boom is on the horizon. Both Gen Z and Millennials were most likely to say that they’re most excited to “travel for vacation,” with 59% of 13-19-year-olds and 49% of 20-39-year-olds choosing travel as the in-person activity they’re excited to resume post-COVID. According to a Toluna survey, Americans are gaining confidence to travel with each passing month—and we can see that young people are looking forward to satisfying their delayed vacation dreams. 

But the second highest response is also significant. Over the course of the pandemic, the entertainment industry has shifted to in-home entertainment, but it’s clear that Gen Z and Millennials still want to be able to go to the movies. We said early on that in the post-COVID entertainment future, young people would want new movies to be available in theaters AND at home. The fact that so many say seeing a movie in a theater is the thing they’re most looking forward to confirms that this will likely be the case.  

Our data also suggests that Gen Z is a little more excited to get back to in-person experiences and entertainment than Millennials. But we did ask Millennials about a few things that Gen Z wouldn’t be able to do yet: going to bars and nightclubs. 

When we asked Millennials how many of them are excited about getting back to drinking outside of their homes, 24% of 18-39-year-olds said they’re eager to get back to nightclubs, and 24% ready to go back to full capacity bars. The reality is that they’re just not as excited to go back to these things as they are to return to other in-person activities. Previously, our nightlife and drinking report found that 66% of 21-38-year-olds would prefer to drink at home than go out, so while many young people will certainly be heading back to bars and clubs, these industries might not see as immediate of a swing back as others on the list.

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