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How 2022 Is The Hot Vaxx Summer Gen Z & Millennials Have Been Waiting For

Jun 16 2022

We looked at how and whether COVID will affect how Gen Z and Millennials spend their summers this year, and found young consumers…


TL;DR:

  • The number of young people who say their summer plans are being impacted by COVID dropped significantly this year
  • When looking at specific summer plans, the number who say they won’t be able to do things because of COVID also decreased across the board 
  • Going to the movies, summer events, and travel will all be far more common this summer for Gen Z and Millennials

2021 was supposed to be the year of hot vaxx summer, as young people excitedly made post-vaccine plans to get out, date, and have all the adventures that they couldn’t have in 2020. But…emerging variants stifled those plans, and hot vaxx summer turned out to be a dream that didn’t come true for many. YPulse’s In-Between trend report earlier this year found that while many have made permanent changes to the way they live because of COVID, they’re still craving many of the experiences they’ve been missing out on. Now, we’re on the precipice of summer months yet again, so could hot vaxx summer 2.0 be on the horizon?

There are very clear signs that the answer is yes. (For real this time.) Every year, YPulse’s Summer Plans behavioral survey looks into how young people are approaching and planning for the season. In 2021, when we asked if COVID would impact any of their summer plans, 53% said yes. This year, that number has dropped down to 40% with only 10% saying their plans will be very/greatly impacted by the threat of COVID. When we dig even deeper and ask about summer activities, we see that the number who say they won’t be able to do things this summer because of COVID has dropped across the board:

Summer activities are back for the majority of young people this year
While young consumers were so ready for summer 2021, and certainly more comfortable doing things out of their homes than they were in 2020, ultimately last summer many were still holding back from summer activities because of COVID. Over a third told us last year that they would not be going to summer events or the movies because of COVID. But in 2022 the number of Gen Z and Millennials who responded “won’t be able to because of COVID” to summer activities went down significantly across the board. While there are (of course) still some who are not comfortable with these activities because of the ongoing pandemic, the data indicates that, barring unforeseen events, summer activities will see the rebound that they didn’t get last year.

Young consumers are more comfortable attending concerts, fairs, and other summer events this year.
Going to summer events like concerts and fairs saw the most significant shift, with the number of young consumers saying they “won’t be able to because of COVID” dropping from 37% to 15%, a 22 point difference. Even though virtual and livestream concerts were popular during lockdowns, the live music industry has kicked off (again) this year after two years of cancellations and postponements. The Coachella Music Festival finally happened in April after two years of being postponed, and landed record-breaking attendance thanks to popular headliners like Billie Eilish and Harry Styles. NYC’s Governor’s Ball took place this weekend, and the Primavera Sound music festival in Barcelona saw a lot of fans in attendance, with musical acts like Dua Lipa and The Strokes. The Pitchfork Music Festival also recently announced that it saw a 112% rise in revenue. Meanwhile, many young artists like Olivia Rodrigo have also kicked off their tours this past spring to tour throughout the summer. And if the sold out crowds at Rodrigo’s shows are any indication, the summer event space is going to thrive this summer.

Young moviegoers are more likely to be heading to the theaters this summer
Going to the movies is one of the top summer activities that saw significant differences from 2021 to 2022, with those who say they won’t be able to because of COVID dropping from 34% to 13%. YPulse told you all of the summer movie titles Gen Z and Millennials are excited to see this summer—and cinemas are doing their part to reach them too. From making movie marketing more immersive, to hosting events and improving their movie equipment, big and small theater chains are doing whatever they can to bring young audiences back into their seats. It seems they’re more likely to have luck this year.

Young consumers are going to travel more this summer
At the beginning of 2021, YPulse predicted that young consumers would set off a roaring ‘20s rebound. And while 2021 wasn’t quite the year that everyone anticipated it would be, more young people are getting back to traveling this year. Our recent travel report found that 64% of 13-39-year-olds say travel is even more important to them now than it was before COVID. We told you about all the destinations young people want to travel to this year, with many of them being international locations—and according to American Express’ travel trends report for 2022, 62% of respondents say they want to take around two to four trips this year, with Millennials ages 26-41-years-old leading the wave. Eighty-four percent of Millennials say they want to go where they can immerse themselves in the local culture, and 83% say they’re trying to be more purposeful in how they plan their trips and which companies they book with. Additionally, Millennials want to take international trips (Europe, Africa, the Galapagos Islands, and Antarctica are popular destinations they have in mind), and 49% are willing to travel solo. The term “revenge travel” has also been circulating as young consumers make up for the time they lost being unable to travel the last two years.

YPulse Business users can access the full Summer Plans behavioral report and data here

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