Cost-of-Living Crisis: Gen Z's Price to Pay | Next Gen Poll

Youth Thinking | 01 Jul 2022


Young people are feeling the strain of the cost-of-living crisis as spending habits take a hit.

We polled 133 16-24-year-olds to uncover how the current crisis is impacting the younger generation and what they're doing to tackle the issue. The research revealed that most young people (62%) had felt in some way impacted and as a result have changed their spending habits. 

One in five young people said they feel under financial strain and this rate was higher among young males; a quarter of men said they feel under deep financial pressure compared to 16% of women. 

Despite this, men are less willing to cut back on their spending habits…

Our poll revealed a marked difference in the attitudes between males, females and those who identify in a different way. Men were less willing to cut back on non-essential physical products but were more likely save in areas such as holidays, commuting, rent and attending live sporting events.  

47% of women are happy to cut back their spending on clothes and shoes compared to just 16% of males.

 27% of young men have stopped spending on non-essential items (e.g. cosmetic products, electronical goods); compared to 59% of young women and 71% of those who identify in another way.

What's the real cost? 

For those who stated that they are feeling the impact of the living crisis and have changed their spending habits accordingly:

  • most (58%) said they’ve cut back on going out to places such as cinemas, restaurants, pubs
  • one in four stated that they were spending less on leisure activities (e,g, sports clubs)
  • almost half (49%) have opted to buy cheaper alternatives; and this was higher among students (55%) and lowest amongst males (32%)
  • 44% have stopped spending on non-essential items (such as beauty products or electronical goods)
  • almost a quarter (24%) have cancelled a subscription (such as a TV service or gym membership)
  • more than one in ten (15%) have started a new job; and this was higher among females and those who identity in another way compared to males
  • Only 2% have taken out a loan or extended their overdraft because of the crisis

Check the price tag

Eating and drinking was a spending area that Gen Z were most willing to cut back on; just under a third (32%) said they would give up alcohol, 59% said they’d cut back on eating out and 58% would give up takeaways.

Will the food and drink industry be the first to feel the effects of the crisis?

Back in March, a report from our parent company Savanta revealed that Gen Z were less inclined to compromise their grocery shop to save money. And when deciding where to shop, Gen Z said they value ‘good prices’ the least out of all generations.

Has inflation pushed this young generation too far - are we starting to see a shift in attitudes?

Or is the reality that Gen Z are spending less on going out to eat (and ordering in) because they're spending more on their grocery shop? Our latest trends video reveals young people's growing love for cooking at home and this may indicate why they're so willing to give up on eating out.  

Students are also feeling the strain more than most. A quarter (26%) admitted that they have been deeply impacted by the crisis and were most likely to cut back on takeaways (61%), eating out (57%) and days out (45%).

One in five students would also be willing to give up attending live events (such as concerts and festivals) to save money.

Supporting Gen Z through the crisis

Young people have had it tough over the past few years; experiencing a global pandemic whilst starting out in their careers and/or navigating through a disrupted higher education system. Plus, seeing the shocking fallout of the Russia-Ukraine conflict - and now they’re facing this new crisis.

Many young people are looking to the government for support. Introducing a higher minimum wage, controlling the rate of fuel prices and awarding more accessible grants would help those from lower income households who are suffering the effects of the crisis.

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Young people also hold employers responsible, as they want to see salary increases that are in line with rising inflation rates.

Although, it’s the introduction of financial education that young people feel would be most beneficial in helping them manage their money more effectively.

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What does this mean for business? Talk to our specialist youth researchers to uncover what this means for your business and how you can support young audiences to grow brand love at this challenging time.

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