In the recent WE Hobbies and Passions Report, YPulse surveyed young Europeans to find out their hobbies, and the type of activities they’re engaging in—online and off. Our data reveals that 91% of young Europeans have a hobby, and among those, 64% are part of a group devoted to their hobby. In other words, European Gen Z and Millennials are invested in activities during their free time. These gens are also financially invested, with YPulse’s data showing that European 13-39-year-olds spend an average of nearly €80 per month (£60) on their hobbies. Brands should consider that young consumers are willing to spend a significant part of their budget on their hobbies. But what exactly are these hobbies? In our survey, we asked young Europeans what their biggest hobbies are as an open-end question,* and here’s the summary of what they like to do in their free time for pleasure:
Team sports are young Europeans’ top hobby
The biggest hobby among 13-39-year-olds in Western European is playing team sports such as football, basketball, or volleyball—and this is true for both Gen Z and Millennials. YPulse informed you just how big sport are in the lives of young Europeans, and data from our WE Sports & Athletics Report shows that three-quarters consider themselves sports fans. The passion that European Gen Z and Millennials have for sports is likely to continue with the next generation, with 65% of Millennial parents saying their children already participate or will participate in sports.
Young Europeans also name a few other physical activities as their biggest hobbies: working out, biking, and dancing. Meaning that out of their ten biggest hobbies, four are related to physical health. When it comes to activities they do in their free time, European Gen Z and Millennials enjoy taking care of their physical health. But this doesn’t mean that these gens aren’t enjoying more cerebral activities, too. YPulse has long told you that mental health is important for these gens, with our research showing that 84% of young European believe taking care of their mental health is just as important as taking care of their physical health. European Gen Z and Millennials’ second favorite hobby reflects this gen’s love for working on their mental health.
Reading is the second hobby of these gens
After team sports, reading is young Europeans’ favorite hobby. Gen Z and Millennials have shared their love for reading online, and the hashtag #BookTook has become the most popular venue for young readers across the globe to share the books they read with like-minded young people. They’re even creating sub-cultures around reading, including fantasy, which we’ve recently explored in our Subculture Series. And this is happening in Western Europe, too: in France, booksellers noticed a jump in sales of books by authors writing stories for young adults, such as We Were Liars by Emily Lockhart or Nine Gorman’s Ashes Falling For The Sky, but could not make sense of the reason behind the trend. After investigation, it turns out that TikTok’s #BookTok was fuelling the success of these titles. Professionals in the industry are now increasingly turning to the social media platform to anticipate trends among young French readers—who are helping to boost the sales of books in the country—and have even created a “Trending on TikTok” cover to reach them. Young Europeans are exploring books to keep them entertained, and it’s also a way for them to disconnect from the reality of their environment. In the words of one of our respondents, a 16-year-old from the U.K., reading “allows her to decompress.”
Gaming is the second favorite hobby of Gen Z, and Millennials’ fourth
European Gen Z’ second biggest hobby is video games, meaning it’s an activity that many young people of this age engage in regularly in their free time. But Gen Z is not the only generation that enjoys gaming in their free time. Among European Millennials, playing video games is their fourth biggest hobby, underscoring just how prevalent gaming is in the lives of this gen, too. YPulse data from our WE Gaming Report shows that 95% of European 13-39-year-olds play some sort of video game. Millennials grew up with the rise of the first gaming consoles—like the first PlayStation and the N64—and haven’t ditched this hobby as they entered adulthood. Millennials’ love for gaming is a passion they’re passing on to the next-gen, with YPulse research showing that two-thirds of Millennial parents are playing video games with their Gen Z and Gen Alpha children.
*This was an open-end response question to allow us to capture the full range of hobbies that Millennials and Gen Z do—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 lists are ordered according to the number of responses received, and alphabetically when ties occurred.