5 Reasons ‘Generation Z’ drink less alcohol than their elders

Young woman drinking water in a field

Generation Z is slowly coming of drinking age. While Millenials and Boomers indulged heavily once they came of age (and maybe even before…) with heavy drinking, partying, and clubbing, Gen Z seems to be taking a different approach. The UK’s Office for National Statistics reveals that there has been a significant fall in the alcohol consumption of those aged 16-24. 64% of Gen Z teens predict that as they grow older, they will drink less than previous generations, and statistics are slowly validating these predictions: Gen Z’s are consuming more than 20% less per capita than their Millennial counterparts did at their age. As the world tries to unravel the tendencies of Gen Z, we have listed five reasons we think Gen Z is opting out:

1. Youth During Economic and Political Turbulence

Gen Z has grown up in a global pandemic and experienced international economic instability. As a result, many have developed conservative spending habits, opting for cheaper nights with friends. When they do choose to drink, Gen Z will often choose to stay in and consume store-bought beverages as opposed to visiting cocktail bars and clubs. What used to be the ‘pre-drinks’ has now become the focal point of today’s drinking culture.

2. “Knowledge is Power” and “Health is Wealth”

As statistics indicate a decline in smoking, drinking, and clubbing among today’s youth, the health and wellness industry is experiencing the exact opposite. The information that Gen Z has at their fingertips has influenced their perception of alcohol and made them “astutely aware” of the long-term effects it has on their bodies. They are more self-conscious about what their weekends look like, choosing self-care over boozy nights out. To many young people, alcohol has undertaken an undesirable reputation, ultimately leading to an unpopularity among Gen Z.

3. Social Media

The most influential aspect of Gen Z’s drawback from alcohol, however, is social media. Never before has there been a time of such surveillance and connectedness and Gen Z lives are constantly being documented through social media platforms. Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter (not Facebook because that’s too old for them) make Gen Z into paparazzi, “chronicling moment-by-moment updates” of theirs and their friends’ movements. As a result, this generation understands just how much is at risk with such platforms, they are more “cautious and risk-averse.”.

A video of them in a drunken state can be instantaneously uploaded and the repercussions of such exposure could result in a damaged reputation. Gen Z is making a “conscious effort” to ensure that their embarrassing nights aren’t caught and uploaded to Facebook in the same way that Millennials’ had theirs posted. With one’s online identity being so accessible to the world, why choose to put yourself in a risky situation and have it available for the world to see?

4. No Time to Get “Smashed”

The future awaiting Gen Z is perhaps the most uncertain future of any past generation. With issues of climate change, housing, and job availability, stability seems like a dream. Many Gen Zers feel that time is too precious to be wasted on drinking, that their motivations should instead be directed at achieving something. This generation has been “calibrated to prioritize productivity” over drinking with friends – Sunday morning hangovers don’t fit into the agenda. For 82% of young people, achieving high marks or success within their career is a top priority, as opposed to the 68% who believe spending time with friends to be at the top. As the cost of an education only grows, teens and young adults are more likely to spend the years wisely instead of wasting them away with alcohol and partying.

5. Gen Z are Homebodies

Especially since the emergence of COVID-19, staying home has become the norm for many. Gen Z seems to choose nights in, unlike their Millennial counterparts who enjoyed getting nights out in clubs and bars. Part of this “homebody” nature comes from their dependency on tech, but it seems that more of it is the choice of comfort over messy nights out. Even as nations slowly open up, Gen Z don’t seem to be flocking back to pubs the same way the previous generations would have. Home has come to embody much more than it previously did, now becoming the preferred place for a Gen Z night with friends.

Risk-averse, self-aware, and future-focused, Generation Z is challenging the alcohol industry and the drinking cultures established by previous generations. As the influence of social media only expands, boosting wellness movements and the health industry, the future of drinking and alcohol-based entertainment grows ever-more uncertain.

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