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What New Year’s Eve Looks Like for Gen Z & Millennials This Year

New Year’s Eve is just around the corner. Will COVID still affect how they celebrate this year?

YPulse’s research shows that 2021 wasn’t the return to normal they (we all) thought it would be. Which means that milestones continued to be disrupted, and not all their plans to get back to in-person experiences have come true this year.  New variants caused anxiety across the board, but the rollout of vaccines did give some young consumers the confidence to slowly start getting back to doing in-person activities they used to love pre-COVID.

So, what does this all mean when it comes to celebrating the start of another year? Our recent survey asked how young people will ring in 2022:

Young people are far more likely to plan on going out to celebrate the end of 2021 than they did last year. Overall, the number of young consumers who say they plan on staying in or would rather stay in, and whose plans will be canceled this year because of COVID, have dropped compared to last year. In fact, fewer plan to stay in at home to celebrate NYE than did pre-COVID in 2019, when 44% of Millennials told us that was their plan. Ahead of the holiday season, we asked young consumers how the pandemic is impacting their winter holiday plans are, and the number who told us celebrating would be hard because of COVID or that their plans are canceled dropped as well—so clearly, there’s a pattern that’s also reflected in their New Year’s plans too. Gen Z and Millennials seem to be more comfortable with celebrating the holidays and New Year’s this year. Even popular events that were either canceled or heavily limited last year are returning this yea,r like NYC’s Time Square celebration, which is being opened up solely to vaccinated visitors.

But it shouldn’t be ignored that the majority still say they would rather stay in on New Year’s than go out—that’s a significant amount. It’s important to keep in mind that before the pandemic, we told you that young consumers were already homebodies. Our recent nightlife and drinking behavioral research found that  68% of 13-39-year-olds say they’d rather stay in on the weekends than go out at night, while 66% of 21-39-year-olds say they would prefer to drink at home than go out once the threat of COVID-19 passes.

So, while young consumers are still trying to navigate themselves around a new “normal” in 2022 (and beyond), it’s clear they’ve learned to accept and lean into other things (like their homebody status) while still trying to have fun. And perhaps, they’re just not as excited about going out on New Year’s as generations before.

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