Youth marketing

What Does Gen Z Want From Summer Entertainment in 2023?

Written by
Izzy Hall
Published on
May 10, 2023
Last updated
May 9, 2024

What this article covers

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Gen Zers have at least six weeks of freedom and (hopefully) sun ahead of them this summer, but what are they expecting to do with it?

Voxburner research has revealed that 44% of Gen Zers from the UK and 41% from the US expect to spend money on entertainment this summer, which includes everything from nights out to festivals with friends. Interestingly, it's an even split between males and females, with 41% of males from the US and 41% of females admitting that they'll be spending money in this sector.

And with TikTok accounts dedicated to sharing summer playlist inspiration to get people in the summer spirit and pub gardens finally reopening after a long, cold winter, it's really no surprise that Gen Z is committed to spending money on leisure activities.

Let summer commence!

Food and drink summer trends

A significant 46% of UK Gen Z students and 48% from the US will be spending money on eating out this summer - one of this generation's favourite past times! Broken down, 46% of UK males and 47% of UK females, alongside 41% of US males and 49% of US females will be splashing the cash on food. And whilst Gen Zers are clearly showing an active interest in going out to restaurants and cafes to eat, there's always more that these venues can do in order to secure young people's loyalty and future spending...

Gen Zers sitting on sofa at home and enjoying pizza.

Remember the roaring success of Eat Out to Help Out post-pandemic? Young people across the UK were eating out practically every night thanks to the great deals available. Offering discounts in restaurants is a great way to attract the attention of young people (check out our sister company Student Beans for more information on how you can get started or boost your current offerings!). Whether it's a week of special deals, buy-one-get-one-free, or percentage discounts, Gen Z will always head to the places with the best deals. To quote Gen Zer Sandrah, who appeared at a recent Youth Marketing Strategy event: "Anywhere with a student discount, I'm gonna check it out!".

The convenience and customisation of food is also something that really appeals to this generation, as well as, of course, the aesthetics... what else is TikTok for, after all?! Healthy options are a huge pull - as we revealed in our Gen Z or Gen Green? report, 34% of Gen Z are trying to eat more ethically. A great example of a brand that ticks all of these boxes is SushiDog (one of our 2023 Challenger Brands!), which offers customisable food options, is easy on the wallet and has a very aesthetic social media feed, perfect for sharing or user-generated content.

The ultimate debate for this young generation: Nights out or nights in? 

30% of UK Gen Zers and 35% from the US will be spending money on nights out this summer, welcoming the return of the sun with boozy afternoons in beer gardens and hectic nights out in local bars.

Local bloggers and vloggers are already hopping on to this trend, sharing inspiration for where to go and what to do over the summer season. A great example comes from TikTok account @lifeinmanchester, a page that shares the best places to go in the city for locals and tourists. This sort of content provides a great opportunity for local bars and restaurants, whether that's through sharing user-generated content that Gen Zers are fondly creating when looking back to summer 2022 or by partnering up with local creators to produce new content. And what's the main theme of summer 2023, we hear you ask? Beer gardens, fun drinks, and good times, of course!

Four happy friends having a good time at a house party. Vibrant young people celebrating while standing in bright neon light. Group of multicultural friends enjoying their weekend together.

But, interestingly, it's not all about the nights out - as is a common theme throughout this series, summer 2023 is about spending quality time with family and friends. For example, one viral TikTok video (18.8K likes) focuses on the joys of summer nights in, from Aperols with friends and tasty food to salads and white linen shirts in the back garden. Comments on this video include 'these vibes please', 'I would literally give anything for friends like this', and 'where are your plates from pls?'.

In summary, it's important to remember that this is not one homogenous group: not all Gen Zers are the same, and brands cannot assume that they all want the same thing. By researching your target audiences and working alongside these young communities, brands who work within the entertainment sector (or any other, to be honest), can ensure that their products and marketing are truly representative of Gen Z.

Variety is the spice of life, after all. 

Young Gen Z couple are laughing and talking as they walk around a funfair.

So there you have it – a crash course looking into what Gen Zers are expecting from summer (and brands) in 2023. Keep your eyes peeled for our next instalment of this series, where we’ll be looking at this generation’s summer spending habits when it comes to technology and homeware.

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