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Three Lifestyle Trends Driven By Generation Z

Written by: Nancy Breiling Nessel, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Altruistic consumers of Generation Z are accelerating the growth of three emerging lifestyle trends: “Good Vegan”, “Sober Serious” and “Mental Fitness”.

Generation Z is a global generation of 2 billion young adults born between 1997 and 2010. I’ve been researching and consulting about Gen Z since 2012, sharing insights about them as global humanitarians who are ambitious and pragmatic but also experience climate anxiety and social anxiety.

Coming of age during economic and political turbulence, members of Generation Z are social activists, trendsetters, and change-makers who are growing up to be very discerning consumers. These three trends represent Gen Z’s desire to seek control and stability in places where they can make an impact in what they see as “an unstable world”.

1. Good Vegan

With nearly 90% of Gen Z expressing concern about the environment, health-conscious young consumers are driving growth in veganism. Their choice to go vegan (avoid ingesting or using products made from animals) is their contribution to save the planet, support animal welfare and improve their physical health. According to the Good Food Institute, 35% of Generation Z surveyed want to be meat-free. In my interviews with vegan Gen Zers, 85% tried vegan “for the planet” and found that a vegan diet “makes me feel physically better, and mentally sharper”.

Veganism is most popular in the Western world and in the Global North, in countries like the UK, the US and Australia where vegan options are more readily available. Social media influencers and TikTok (vegan) are also convincing Gen Zers to try vegan. Brands can expect young consumers to seek vegan options for the long term. The global vegan food market is at $16 billion in 2021 and is forecasted to reach $31 billion by 2026. If you want to resonate with Generation Z and capitalize on this high-growth segment, consider entering the vegan space – for foods and for vegan products… and do it authentically. 2. Sober Serious

Generation Z is improving their mental health and well-being with sobriety. Called the “loneliest generation”, more than 70% of this surprisingly social generation reported depression during the pandemic. These ambitious young adults are working hard to improve and maintain optimal health and mental clarity in today’s competitive environments.

According to a global survey of Generation Z, 41 percent associate alcohol with “vulnerability,’ “anxiety,” and “abuse.” And 76 percent feel it is important to be always in control of all aspects of their life. Living life on film in the digital world, risk averse “Zoomers” avoid drinking because they are “very concerned about appearance and image on social media.” Movements and influencers promoting sobriety are all over social media; popular icons like Lil Yachty and Vince Staples are fueling a ‘Straight Edge’ Revolution.

Another reason for abstaining from alcohol is the cost. Growing up amidst a recession, graduating college with significant debt and facing soaring rents, most young Gen Z adults live on a tight budget. They choose to spend where their passions are and are passionate about retaining control where they can.

3. Mental Fitness

Generation Z and their desire for mental fitness is driving change in the way society perceives mental health across the globe. Given this generation’s high rate of depression and anxiety, Generation Z is committed to mainstreaming mental health in all areas, from conversations to the workplace. Employable Generation Zers have led the “Great Resignation” largely because of burnout and mental health challenges. According to a 2022 survey about Generation Z in the workplace (TalentLMS and BambooHR), nearly half of Generation Z reported burnout and lack of life-work balance. 87% of Generation Z considers mental health and well-being policies as an important aspect when selecting a job. Furthermore, 82% of Generation Z want mental health days. Almost 9 in 10 employers are focusing on mental health benefits and support this year. Thanks to Gen Z’s demands for mental health benefits, employers are embracing the intersection of employment and mental health for the first time ever. Generation Z and their desire for mental fitness is driving change in the way society perceives mental health across the globe. During the global pandemic, Gen Z has turned what could have been a passive quarantine existence into productive revolutionary excellence. Members of Generation Z are our pioneers for driving critical change in society, and pioneers for prioritizing mental health, sustainability, and stability in places where they can have some control. Already comprising 25% of today’s workforce, Generation Z’s spending power is growing, and it’s important for the consumer goods market to gain insight into where they are spending their rising incomes.

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Nancy Breiling Nessel, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Nancy Breiling Nessel is one of the premier marketers to research and consult on Generation Z, today’s tech-savvy generation of young adults ranging in age from 12-25. Her mission is to educate key influencers about Generation Z - who they are as employees, consumers, students and society’s future leaders. Nancy began researching and writing about Generation Z in 2012, the year that technology started influencing and ultimately shaping their lives. Nancy has been sharing deep insights into Gen Z based on primary and secondary market research among diverse insight communities. For the past seven years, Nancy has gained deeper expertise into Gen Z by leading and coaching various segments of Generation Z in business, education and the arts. Her Gen Z consultancy has grown from a blog in 2012, to a viral and critical center of knowledge that captures the attention of thousands of readers, agencies and publications. Nancy’s expertise in marketing strategy and consumer insights is strengthened by an MBA in Marketing and 10 years of professional experience creating and leading consumer marketing strategies for some of the world’s leading brands.



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