COVID-19 Barometer: More than half of Millennials’ and GenZ’s household incomes impacted

GenZ and Millennials are feeling the impact of the coronavirus pandemic more severely than any other generation.
23 April 2020
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About the data

These insights were collected in Waves 1-3 of Kantar’s global COVID19 Barometer. For the first wave of the study we spoke to over 25,000 people in over 30 countries 14 - 23 March 2020. For the second and third waves we spoke to over 30,000 people in over 50 markets 27 – 30 March and 10 – 13 April. We conducted 500+ interviews per country, mostly online, otherwise by telephone.

The analysis covers the following countries, to enable comparison between waves 1-3 data: Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, Republic of Ireland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, UAE, UK, USA.

Although overall concern levels among the younger generations are lower than average - 35% of 18-24 year olds and 37% of 25-34 year olds say they are hugely concerned about the situation, compared to 41% overall – the pandemic is having a greater impact on Millennials and GenZ than older generations. That’s according to the third wave of Kantar’s COVID-19 Barometer, the leading global study of how COVID-19 is influencing people’s attitudes, behaviours and expectations across more than 50 markets.

Over half of Millennials (52%) and 49% of GenZ say they have already experienced an impact on their household income and an additional 26% across the combined 18-34 age group expect to be impacted in the future – more than any other generation.

Young adults are turning to a broad range of coping mechanisms to manage their mental wellbeing

Social interaction has been the hardest to give up for 41% of Millennials and GenZ, followed by freedom and leaving the house. But when compared to older generations, 18-34 year olds are engaging more intensely with a range coping strategies to manage their mental health and wellbeing:

  • 53% of GenZ and 48% of Millennials are exercising more (vs 43% overall)
  • 53% of GenZ and 45% of Millennials are sleeping more (vs 41% overall)
  • 23% of GenZ and 22% of Millennials are meditating (vs 18% overall)
  • Millennials in particular are choosing a “drysolation” with 26% avoiding alcohol (vs 21% overall)
  • 18% of GenZ and 20% of Millennials are avoiding news (vs 17% overall)

These two generations are also taking this opportunity to learn new skills:

  • 40% of GenZ and 38% of Millennials say they are focusing on their personal development, compared to a global average of 29%
  • 57% of GenZ and 63% of Millennials are trying new recipes (vs 51% overall)

The differences between how GenZ and Millennials are handling the situation are indicative of their differing concerns. While 18-24 year olds seem to be seeking ways to stay busy, 25-34 year olds appear more focused on activities that reduce stress as they feel the financial burden of the pandemic even more strongly than their younger counterparts.

Media consumption continues to rise later into lockdown

At-home media consumption as well as online consumption have grown significantly in lockdown, particularly among younger viewing audiences. Online video has seen the greatest increase, with 72% of GenZ and 69% of Millennials saying they use it more (vs 52% overall). Of all the online platforms, YouTube has now seen the greatest increase, with 71% of GenZ and 65% of Millennials using the channel more. TikTok is also gaining momentum, with usage up by a third (33%) among GenZ and 27% among Millennials.

Social media usage has also continued to rise, with over two thirds (68%) of the 18-34 age group spending more time on social channels. Instagram is the channel that has seen the greatest gains among young adults (63% of GenZ and 49% of Millennials say they are using it more), perhaps as more people turn to the platform’s video and live-stream capabilities to participate in activities such as virtual workouts and cooking classes.

Millennials and GenZ hold brands to higher account

Compared to other generations, young adults have a higher expectation that brands should engage in a more proactive way with society and its citizens. Half of GenZ and 46% of Millennials say that companies should make donations to support the purchase of masks and sanitisers for hospitals (vs 44% overall). 39% of GenZ and 33% of Millennials believe that companies should make donations to support scientific research (vs 32% overall). And 22% of GenZ and 23% of Millennials feel that brands should set an example and guide the change (vs 18% overall).

In line with the general population, only 6% of Millennials and GenZ believe that brands should stop advertising. The use of humour in the current climate is a polarising topic across generations; 38% of people feel humour inappropriate in advertising at this time, although 24% of people disagree. But compared to older generations, 18-34 year olds are slightly more resistant to the use of humour in the current environment, with 41% of GenZ and 39% of Millennials saying that humour should not be used.


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COVID-19 Barometer

The leading syndicated study on how COVID-19 is influencing consumer behaviour, attitudes and expectations, covering over 60 markets.
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