FEATURE14 July 2021

Gen Z unmasked: Young people and Covid-19

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Covid-19 Features Impact Youth

Research from InSites Consulting and Coca-Cola examined how young people were affected by the pandemic. By Joeri Van den Bergh and Begonia Fafian.

youths with face masks on

Covid-19 had a tremendous impact on Generation Z. Teenage life changed from light-hearted – full of discovery, experimentation, freedom, sharing and the outdoors – to fear, lockdown, not going out, control, responsibilities, and missing out on graduations, university, birthdays and live concerts.

To learn more about how teens are feeling and how the past year has shaped their attitudes and behaviour, we applied a ‘networking approach’. We spoke directly to Gen Z through the Consumer Consulting Square – a closed, online and mobile-enabled community for moderated discussions – in eight European countries. This included about 200 young people aged between 16 and 19 in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Norway, Poland, Italy and Romania.

We then integrated 40 internal sources – both primary and secondary data – from the insights community worldwide. Despite the timing (March 2020 ), this was not a lockdown study – we discussed their present, but also their future.

Five key themes emerged, of which we will explore three here. The first ...