Gen Z - The Generation of Sobriety?

We often hear a lot about how Gen Z is rude and overprotective. Older people call them everything from snowflakes to irresponsible. However, Gen Z may not be what the media paints it as. Studies have shown how Gen Z is more aware of their health and well-being than previous generations. One of the growing trends among Gen Z is sobriety, and it's hard to explain why.

A study from 2018 shows how Gen Z is less likely to drink more as they grow older. It also shows that Gen Z is 20% less likely than millennials to drink alcohol. It's interesting to note that even millennials are drinking less than previous generations.

As you can see, there's a clear downward trend in alcohol consumption. More and more people are now reluctant to get drunk at every possible chance. There are both socio-economic and personal reasons behind this phenomenon. Let's find out what the reasons are.


Gen Z is more health-conscious

A few surveys have shown how Gen Z would be more likely to spend an hour in the gym than the bar. It's one of the many trends that point to the fact that Gen Z is more health-conscious that the previous generations.

While social and mainstream media has undoubtedly played a role in promoting fitness and health awareness, there are other factors as well.

One important factor is how difficult it has become to stay healthy. If you want to have organic and unadulterated food, you'd have to spend a lot of money. Medical expenses have also increased significantly. We now have more health problems than before. All these factors play a role in making younger folks more health-conscious.

When we are talking about health and fitness, we cannot overlook the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The entire world suddenly woke up to the gift of health and a strong immunity system, and it has had a deep impact on people who are in their formative years.

It's a culmination of all these factors that have made us rethink alcohol consumption and other social habits. It's one of the major reasons why Gen Z is consuming much less than Gen X and boomers.

The watchful eye of social media

Every once in a while, you will come across viral videos and photos of drunk celebrities. They might be doing something silly, or just having a good time with friends. Nonetheless, these videos and images are then scrutinized, analyzed, and turned into memes.

But social media and social scrutiny are no longer for celebrities alone. Each of us can be recorded at any moment, and be turned into viral videos and memes. It's not a good thing if we look at its overarching impact. However, it had indeed resulted in people being more careful with their drunk behavior. To combat the problem altogether, many Gen Z now consumes only when they are within a very close circle. Footfall in bars has decreased as a result.

Mental health awareness

We are currently going through a mental health epidemic, whether we realize it or not. A whopping 91% of Gen Z claim to have gone through some form of mental health problem. More importantly, younger people do not have the same stigma around mental health that previous generations had. They are more likely to report mental health problems, which also plays a role in the stats.

Alcohol and mental health do not go well together. Alcohol abuse, in particular, is a problem for anyone going through mental health issues. Gen Z is more aware of this than the previous generations. As a consequence, they try to restrict alcohol consumption or give it up altogether.

Productivity and alcohol do not go together

There are very few people who are high-functioning alcoholics. Even with them, there is a range of consequences of being a high-functioning alcoholic. It's likely to eat into every other aspect of your life.

While we may like to think that Gen Z is not hard-working, the reality is very different. Getting and keeping a job, buying a house, getting married, etc. are much more difficult for Gen Z, and finance plays a big role in it. As a result, Gen Z is prioritizing careers over everything else. That's one of the many reasons they are also drinking less.

61% of Gen Z are more interested in being entrepreneurs than working for someone else. Part of the reason is the restricted opportunity for growth in a tenured job. Given these circumstances, many younger people can no longer afford to spend hours drinking. Some do not have the means, and some do not have the motivation.

The rise of alcohol substitutes

The non-alcoholic beer market is worth US$ 20.4 billion in 2022. Compared to the last several decades, we are now seeing a true rise in the non-alcoholic beverage market. The projected size of the market would be worth US$ 43.6 by 2032. With so many substitutes available, it is easier for Gen Z to not get hooked on alcohol in the first place.

We also need to acknowledge the availability of other recreational drugs to explain the decreased Gen Z interest in alcohol. Many of these recreational drugs do not have the side effects that alcohol does. With marijuana being legal across several states, young people now have legal access to a long forbidden drug. While there are several caveats, marijuana is generally seen as less harmful than alcohol. Cannabis and cannabis-derived drugs do play a role in swaying the lifestyle choices of Gen Z.

Coming back to non-alcoholic drinks, the quality of such beverages has also increased dramatically. It was seen as a replacement for the real deal in the past. But now, they are a separate category of beverages with separate marketing and branding. It's not surprising that people are now satisfied with the quality of their non-alcoholic beverages and do not want to go back to alcohol.