Gen Z & Millennials’ Top 15 Hobbies Right Now

May 10 2021

We asked young consumers their biggest hobbies right now, and found not only their top pastimes, but some differences between groups that brands should understand…

 

In the last year, hobbies arguably became more important than ever as they looked for ways to occupy their time during quarantines, and ways to connect with others even while isolated. YPulse found that staying entertained was one of their top priorities during lockdowns. In fact, many young consumers picked up new hobbies during 2020, and shared the results of their fresh passions on social media, making everything from TikTok recipes to DIY at-home tie-dyed sweats trends in the wake of the pandemic.  

Of course, a year later young consumers have less free time on their hands, but that hasn’t changed the importance of these passion-fueled pastimes. So, to check in on what’s occupying their time, and whether those quarantine hobbies had staying power, our most recent hobbies and passions survey asked Gen Z and Millennials to tell us their biggest hobby is now. Here’s what we found out:

What Are Their Biggest Hobbies? 

Among 13-39-year-olds 

  1. Gaming
  2. Music / Playing an instrument  
  3. Sports
  4. Art / Drawing / Painting 
  5. Reading 
  6. Watch TV / Netflix 
  7. Fitness
  8. Crafting
  9. Cooking / Baking
  10. Singing 
  11. Dancing 
  12. Gambling 
  13. Swimming 
  14. Writing / Journaling 
  15. Traveling

YPulse’s gaming report found that 94% of 13-39-year-olds play video games at some capacity, so it shouldn’t be all that surprising that it tops the list as their biggest hobby. This was especially true among 13-29-year-olds, who were most likely to name gaming as their top hobby. While gaming was in the top five list for 30-39-year-olds, sports was number one. Interestingly, when we asked young consumers “Have you picked up any hobby to occupy your time during Coronavirus,” gaming was also the top response, indicating that the last year has only intensified the importance of gaming and its popularity among these generations. Of course, we’ve explained that all brands should be finding a way to reach young audiences through video games, and this ranking only underlines that fact.  

Music /playing an instrument took the second spot on the ranking, and it’s clear that though media- and screen-focused pastimes were frequently mentioned top hobbies, expressing creativity is an important pastime for many young people. Last year, a VSCO survey revealed that Gen Z had been using creative expression to cope with the stress of isolation. Eighty-eight percent of teens surveyed said they have been expressing themselves creatively, whether through music (52%), journaling (38%), dancing (34%), photography (33%), or drawing (32%). Our data shows that creative outlets are popular hobbies for many young consumers, with art/drawing/painting taking fourth place on our overall hobbies ranking, and dancing, singing, and writing/journaling all in the top 15. Crafting made the eighth spot, and we told you at the end of last year how it was one of the things that has been “like therapy” for young people. But these creative pursuits are especially vital to younger consumers, with art/drawing/painting making the top five ranking for 13-19-year-olds and 20-29-year-olds but not among 30-39-year-olds. 

It’s significant that sports is third on the list of young consumers’ biggest hobbies, considering their reputation for being a relatively difficult sports audience compared to previous generations. But as YPulse just explored in our just-released trend report Scouting Next Gen Sports Fans, despite their different viewing habits the majority of Gen Z and Millennials do consider themselves sports fans. Last year, YPulse’s special report on how sports fans were coping during COVID-19 found that 63% of 13-39-year-old sports fans agreed: “Life without live sports is boring.” But we should note that Gen Z respondents were less likely than Millennials to name sports as their top hobby, and sports ranked number four among 13-19-year-olds, compared to second among 20-29-year-olds and number one among 30-39-year-olds. The comparative differences do echo the findings of our Scouting Next Gen Sports Fans research, which shows that Gen Z fans are less engaged and invested—a clear red flag for sports brands, who need to take new action, and try new approaches, to reach this audience. 

When comparing the top hobbies of Gen Z and Millennials, despite slight differences in rankings the two generations do have very similar top responses. However, the same can’t be said of young males and young females, whose top five lists look very different:

Despite the overall increased popularity of gaming in the last year, as a hobby it’s still significantly popular with males, who were far more likely than females to name it as their top hobby. Males were also more likely than females to name sports and fitness as top hobbies, with both in the top five for this group. Meanwhile, reading, crafting, and watching TV/Netflix are top five hobbies for females but not males. 

But there are a few similarities to call out as well: while art/drawing/painting took the number one spot among females, it does appear on the top ranking for males as well, and music was in the top five list for both groups. One takeaway? While young males and females might spend their time watching different things on screens, creative outlets are important to both groups.  

YPulse Business users can access the full hobbies and passions behavioral report and data here

Don’t have a YPulse Business account? Find out more here.

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