When we began our proprietary research journey into Elder Gen Z in 2019, these digital natives were on the precipice of making their way onto the world stage. As we begin 2024, this dynamic cohort has not only stepped into today’s cultural landscape – they’re shaping it. Elder Z’s lifestyle began powered by a strong online presence, and while digital channels are still significant parts of their daily social interactions – we wanted to explore how they spend their hours beyond their digital world.
As this age group is now reaching their mid to late 20’s, we wanted to understand how their eating and entertaining habits have changed. Well on their way to cultivating their culinary and entertainment preferences IRL, dive in with us as we unearth Elder Z’s most recent evolution.
When we last explored Elder Z’s eating habits, convenience and speedy service were two of the top motivating factors for a food purchase. 42% of respondents in 2023 were planning to stop and pick something up, a decrease from 54% of Elder Z who were looking for a quick, convenient bite in 2019. This decrease can lead us to believe this generation is spending more time cooking and trying new foods at home – as they seek out unique (and affordable) ingredients and cooking techniques inspired by their digital exposure to recipes and influencers who can show them the ropes.
The rise of food-related content on social media platforms they frequent like TikTok and Instagram, has played a pivotal role in shaping Elder Z’s culinary preferences. The influence of online food communities and influencers has also contributed to an increased awareness of experimenting with alternative dietary choices.
Speaking of experimenting, Elder Z continues to consider themselves daring in their food choices, with 48% identifying as adventurous eaters. There is a growing interest in diversifying their flavor profile and trying unfamiliar cuisines. From new types of potato chips and cheese to bold new choices of jerky – Elder Z’s palate is perfect for testing original, inspiring flavors.
Similar to their culinary growth, entertainment habits for Elder Z are evolving. This first generation of true digital natives is now shifting to reflect a desire for a more nuanced balance between hosting social gatherings at home and seeking experiences in the real world. Elder Z is entertaining at home frequently, with 71% hosting gatherings at least once a month. This indicates that Elder Z is increasingly inclined to curate personalized and intimate experiences within their own spaces. Elevated, at-home set ups like a board game night and a beautiful charcuterie board are a staple for Elder Z entertainment, with 56% considering themselves masterful in charcuterie prep! This tracks for a cohort that continues to crave more meaningful and authentic connections, emphasizing the value of shared moments in a familiar and comfortable environment in a post-pandemic world.
This shift to more intimate settings does not dismiss the allure of experiencing entertainment beyond their home. Elder Z continues to engage in a variety of real-world entertainment, from attending live performances and events, to exploring niche experiences in their communities.
This generation values the richness of real-world interactions – and they leverage their tech know-how to make it happen. Elder Z often uses digital platforms to discover local events, connect with like-minded individuals, and share their experiences in real time. This continued connectivity with their communities suggests a seamless blending of digital and physical realms, reinforcing the notion that technology acts as an organizer rather than a replacement for genuine social engagement.
Previously defined by their strong online presence, Elder Z is emerging as architects of a cultural landscape where technology acts as a bridge – connecting shared experiences in both virtual and real spaces. Adventurous eating habits and a dynamic approach to entertainment underscore their role in shaping a vibrant and diverse societal narrative. As we navigate this evolving landscape, it’s clear that Elder Gen Z’s influence extends far beyond the pixels of their screens, leaving their mark on lifestyle trends for the generations that follow.
Wondering how to engage with Elder Z? Email Nate Tredinnick at email@example.com to set up a call.