New Year’s is here, and resolutions are being set. What new skills do young consumers want to learn in 2022?
It’s a brand new year, which means it’s time for setting goals and resolutions—and young Europeans are ready for it. YPulse’s upcoming future plans survey found that the majority of Gen Z and Millennials in Western Europe have or plan on having a New Year’s resolution, and for many, this includes learning a new skill. We’ve long told you that Gen Z and Millennials are natural-born researchers, and YPulse’s recent WE Self-Taught trend report dove deep into how young Europeans’ early access to digital resources has made exploring, analyzing, and fact-finding an element of their everyday online lives. In fact, more than half of 13-39-year-olds now say they’re often doing research to learn about something new, and the vast majority enjoy learning.
But what do young Europeans want to learn in 2022? In our trend survey, we asked 13-39-year-olds the open-end question, “What new skill or topic do you plan to learn more about this year?” Here are the top 15 things they’ll be setting their minds and digital research skills to this year:
The Top Things They Want to Learn This Year
- Another language
- IT / Coding / Computer skills
- Sport / Fitness training
- Art / Design / Crafting
- Learn to play a musical instrument / Music skills
- Financial / Money management skills
- Personal development / Life skills
- Trading / Crypto-trading
- Counseling / Psychology skills
- Entrepreneurial / Business skills
- Marketing / Digital marketing skills
- Culinary skills
- Driving skills
- Job / Work skills
Another language is by far the top skill 13–39-year-olds in Western Europe say they want to focus their energy on this year, which is a trend that began at the start of the pandemic. During the first wave of lockdowns, new Duolingo users spiked across the world, with France seeing 107% more new users, and Spain 109%, and the U.K. a whopping 296%. In fact, 2020 saw 10% of adults in the U.K. begin learning a foreign language, and the country became one of Duolingo’s top five countries by the total number of daily learners. What’s more, the majority of the pandemic’s new language learners were young people, with Millennials making up 50% of participants and Gen Z more than 20%, according to a study from Lingoda. The study also found that nine out of 10 pandemic language learners want to continue studying their new tongue even after COVID passes, which is evident in young Europeans’ list of skills they plan on learning this year.
Coding and computer skills are second on their list, highlighting young consumers’ ongoing push to become more tech-savvy—and to have the skills needed for their future jobs. In YPulse’s WE What’s Next for Work trend report, we asked young Europeans to tell us their dream jobs, and “engineer” and “computer scientist / programmer / coder” both made the top 10 among both Gen Z and Millennials. In fact, language and coding are the top two skills both generations want to learn this year:
This differs from North America, where Gen Z is far more likely to list coding / computer skills as the topic they hope to learn about this year. In Western Europe, however, Gen Z is more likely to say they want to learn mathematics and music skills, while Millennials are looking to learn more about fitness and finances. At-home exercise took off during the pandemic as gyms shut down and young people sought new ways to cope with the stress of the global health crisis. In fact, a study from Global Data found that more than half of U.K. consumers have done home workouts since March 2020—31% of whom didn’t exercise regularly pre-pandemic—and 53% bought home workout products since March 2020. Meanwhile, 76% say they will continue to work out after COVID ends—and many of those may be European Millennials.
Financial / money management skills also made it onto young Europeans’ list of top 15 skills they plan to learn this year—and made it the top five for Millennials. When we asked young Europeans to tell us what they wish they’d been taught in school, financial management skills was their top answer by a long shot—nearly twice as many respondents listed this as the top skill that should be taught in school compared to the second topic on the list. Young peoples’ finances were heavily impacted by the pandemic, spurring them to prioritize saving money and investing: four in ten young European consumers tell us they hold investments, and 82% say saving money is important to them. What’s more, three-quarters of 13-39-year-olds are interested in learning how to improve their financial situation, and 78% of students agree with the statement, “I wish my school would teach us more about personal finance.” Since they’re not getting it at school, young people are finding their financial advice and management elsewhere. In the last year, services aimed at helping Gen Z manage their finances have popped up, including French startup Vybe, which is building an online bank alternative for European teens. Then there’s social media (where young consumers turn for many educational needs), which has become a hotbed of money advice and influence: financial advisors have flocked to TikTok to help users with tips on all things money management, and the hashtag #investing has a whopping 3.4 billion views.
Personal development / Life skills and Counseling / Psychology skills also made their list, throwing light on young consumers’ growing interest in maintaining their mental health and wellbeing. While these generations have long been focused on mental health, they doubled down during the pandemic: in YPulse’s State of Mind trend report, 54% of 13-39-year-olds in the U.S. told us their mental health has been negatively impacted by the pandemic. In this time, young people increasingly sought out professional mental health and mental health alternatives: the number of young people who spoke to a mental health professional went from 41% in 2017 to 56% in 2020. Self-guided mental health tools have also been in demand, with the popularity of mindfulness/meditation smartphone apps increasing in the last year.
Gen Z and Millennials in France are placing an even higher premium on these life skills, with “personal development” coming in second on their list of skills they want to learn this year:
In fact, French consumers are the only ones not to list coding / computer skills as the second-top skill they want to learn this year. Meanwhile, young consumers in the U.K. and Spain are hoping to learn to play a new instrument this year, while young Italians are planning to learn mathematics and Germans will be getting fit.
With the majority of young Europeans’ top skills are ones that they can learn on their own and online, brands have a massive opportunity to reach them by helping them pursue their passions—and especially at the start of the year, when Gen Z and Millennials are looking for ways to stick to their goals.
YPulse Western Europe Business users can access the full Self-Taught trend report and data here.
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