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These Are Young Europeans’ Top 15 Hobbies Right Now

May 17 2022

Hobbies are a source of community for Gen Z and Millennials. Here are the ones they say they’re most passionate about now…


TL;DR

  • Hobbies became even more important forms of entertainment and connection during the pandemic, and young Europeans are still keeping up with their favorite pastimes
  • Music and sports are their top two hobbies right now, providing them with community and mental wellness
  • For Gen Z, gaming is a top pastime while Millennials are focusing more on their finances

In the last two years, hobbies became more important to young consumers than ever as they looked for ways to occupy their time during lockdowns, and ways to stay connected in isolation. In fact, many young consumers picked up new hobbies during the pandemic (remember the great flour shortage of 2020?) and—more importantly—found ways to connect with groups near and far around these hobbies. In our WE Clicking on Community trend report—which explored just how important community is to Gen Z and Millennials today—young Europeans told us that shared hobbies are one of the top things the online groups they’re a part of are focused on, and our recent WE Hobbies and Passions report found that 61% are part of a group devoted to a hobby. Meanwhile, our WE Religion and Spirituality report found that over half of young Europeans say their passions have replaced religion in their lives, indicating just how important these interests are to them.

But what exactly are their hobbies now, as they increasingly enter a post-COVID lifestyle? Our most recent hobbies and passions survey asked Gen Z and Millennials in Western Europe to tell us their biggest hobby is now*. Here’s what we found out:

Their Biggest Hobbies
Among 13-39-year-olds in Western Europe

  1. Music
  2. Sports
  3. Exercise / Fitness
  4. Fashion
  5. Gaming
  6. Movies / TV series
  7. Food / Nutrition
  8. Cooking / Baking
  9. Reading
  10. Art / Crafting / Photography
  11. Travel
  12. Finances / Money
  13. Outdoor activities
  14. Technology
  15. Animals

*This was an open-end response question to allow us to capture the full range of hobbies that 13-39-year-olds are taking part in—without our preconceived ideas shaping their responses. As with any qualitative question, the responses include those that are top of mind and those that are most popular. The list is ordered according to the number of responses received, and alphabetically when ties occurred. 

Hobbies that support their mental health and provide a sense of community take the top spots

By far young Europeans’ top hobby is music, which isn’t too surprising—Gen Z and Millennials consistently tell us that music is an important part of their lives, and a top way they maintain their mental health, too. 79% of young Europeans say music is an important part of their life, and 72% agree, “Music is a part of how I define who I am.” More than four in five also say they use music to alter their mood, and “Made a playlist to listen to when stressed / sad” is the top thing they’ve done to combat stress, according to our WE Mental Health report. Meanwhile, music moments like albums and song drops are some of the top pop culture moments they care about. In other words—music is a big deal for these gens, and whether they’re listening or playing music themselves, it’s a top passion.

We recently dove into young Europeans’ feelings about sports and found that the vast majority consider themselves a sports fan, and more than half say “Being a sports fan is a big part of who I am.” Unsurprisingly, (European) football is their favorite sport, and it’s long been intertwined with their identities. The majority of young Europeans are also participating in sports, and 66% say watching sports helps them to relax and decompress. Meanwhile, our WE Clicking on Community trend report found that sports is one of the top things they’ve formed a fandom around—and these fandoms are important to their sense of self and community.

Gaming has become a top hobby, especially for Gen Z

Gaming is the fifth biggest hobby among all young Europeans, underscoring how ubiquitous the pastime has come among young consumers. Video games were a big deal even before COVID, but the long days (and weeks and months) spent in lockdowns spurred Gen Z and Millennials in Western Europe to spend even more time in these virtual worlds than ever before to escape their boredom as well as support their mental health and hang out with friends. YPulse’s WE gaming survey found that 94% of young Europeans play some form of video games, and our WE TV and entertainment survey found that 76% young European gamers plan to play video games as much or more after the threat of COVID has passed. Meanwhile, four in five young Europeans who play games say they’ve spent money on or inside video games in the past year, highlighting what we’ve said for a while: the future of marketing is inside video games (and, of course, the metaverse).

But while both gens are regularly picking up their controllers, gaming is a bigger interest for Gen Z:

While gaming comes in at No. 8 for Millennials, it’s the third biggest hobby among Gen Z, which supports what we’ve been seeing for a while—gaming is becoming a top form of entertainment for 13-20-year-olds, and especially Gen Z males.

Finances have become a top hobby for Millennials thanks to digital currencies 

YPulse recently published our WE Buying Into Crypto and NFTs trend report, which dives deep into young Europeans’ growing interest in digital currencies—as well as their finances generally. In fact, the majority of young Europeans say they plan on becoming a millionaire in their lifetime, and investing in crypto and NFTs is how they plan on getting there. Now, 28% of Millennials are holding crypto investments and 14% have NFTs, and Millennials are +6pts more likely than Gen Z to say that ​​investing in cryptocurrencies / web3 / other digital investments is the future. Fueling this hobby is crypto and NFTs’ viral status across social media. YPulse’s March 2021 article “WTF are NFTs—and Why Are They Everywhere?” highlights the moment NFTs took the internet by storm, and they’ve only gotten more popular in the year since. Now, these collectible tokens are not only young Europeans’ financial future, but one of their biggest hobbies, too.

YPulse Western Europe Business users can access the full WE Hobbies and Passions behavioral report and data here.

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

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