Challenging societal norms of drinking

Download PDF

Gen Z is in the midst of a loneliness crisis–they have less friends, go on less dates, and report feelings of loneliness at a higher level than any other generation. According to Cigna, 73% of Gen Z report sometimes or always feeling alone, up from 69% a year ago. However, despite the grim nature of these statistics, our Reveal panel has uncovered a generational cohort that appears uniquely equipped at recognizing, confronting, and overcoming these challenges head on.

As digital fluency, social media dependency, and work-from-home has risen, so has Gen Z’s struggle to forge real connections with their peers. For past generations, connecting socially was as simple as showing up for an after work happy hour, where alcohol was a social lubricant. It’s how colleagues and friends connected after a long work day, and how chance social and romantic connections occurred. But our Gen Z panel has shed light on their sober curious ways, and why alcohol is taking a back seat for them when it comes to growing relationships.

There is a shared belief within this generation that alcohol and over-drinking can cause those drinking to not feel fully present in a social setting. And while Gen Z is actively seeking out new acquaintances, the emphasis and priority is on establishing intimate relationships.

When we’re drinking, we’re not actually forming real connections.

In this way, they are combating the more self-centered and self-alienating behaviors social media has taught so many. Their approach to overall health and wellness has an emphasis on creating real connections and to show up as your “full working self.”

We’ve seen the immediate business impact of this mindset through the growth of the mocktail and non-alcoholic beverage category, which is expanding rapidly as alcohol consumption declines. The sector is expected to grow to $30 billion in 2025, according to Global Market Insights. We’ve also seen the surge of food-centric happy hours, alcohol-free bars, and the rise in social sporting activities.

But, what’s next and what do you need to know to captivate this generation of consumers?

Download PDF