Gen Zs now prefer to play social entertainment games, than go for a drink in the pub

August 17, 2023

From the thrill of axe throwing to the more traditional activities of darts or table football, sober curious Gen Zs (aged 26 and under) are choosing competitive socialising* over pub visits, according to new research from market intelligence agency Mintel.

Mintel’s latest research shows that almost two thirds (64%) of Gen Zs have played a social entertainment game in the last month, compared to three in five (60%) who have been to the pub for a drink.

Overall, participation in competitive socialising activities has increased by 13 percentage points between 2019 and 2023. Around seven in ten (71%) consumers now say they have taken part in a competitive socialising activity, compared to 58% in 2019. Young consumers lead the way, with as many as 93% of Gen Zs having taken part in competitive socialising, compared to just 60% of Baby Boomers (aged 59-77).

Traditional activities are set to remain firm favourites, as over the next year, half (51%) of consumers say they are interested in taking part in bowling, and a further 41% say they are interested in playing crazy golf. However, there is substantial interest for newer, more innovative options such as axe throwing (19%), racing car simulators (22%) and social cricket (10%) as well.

Jennie Bryans, Travel & Leisure Research Analyst, Mintel Reports UK, said:

“As more Gen Zs come of age, their preference for sober-curious living is altering how consumers socialise. This is driving demand for new and varied activities that provide a sense of adrenaline, but don’t necessarily involve consuming alcohol. However, the ONS predicts that by 2026, some 40% of the UK’s population will be over-55s, signaling that operators have two key demographics to consider. On the one hand, operators need to focus on attracting a younger crowd of Gen Zs during peak evening and weekend periods, whilst on the other hand, brands should also tailor activities towards older consumers’ interests during off-peak hours, when retired consumers are free to participate.”

“The cost of living crisis continues to impact many in society, and as such, 37% of consumers say they anticipate reducing spend on socialising and entertainment due to price rises. It is therefore essential for brands to promote affordable options during the current cost-of-living crisis. Operators should look at offering annual passes or loyalty schemes to encourage repeat visits from customers during this period.”

“At the other end of the scale, ‘gastro-gaming’ has the potential to perform well within the premium sector; brands can attract a new range of clientele who are interested in watching but not taking part in activities, whilst also enjoying a high-quality meal.”

*Leisure/social activities taken part in outside of the home, activities include darts, pool, football, tenpin bowling, crazy golf, table-tennis/ping pong, team-based physical/mental challenge, go-carting, shuffle board or curling.

Mintel News

For the latest in consumer and industry news, top trends and market perspectives, stay tuned to Mintel News featuring commentary from Mintel’s team of global category analysts.

More from Mintel
  • Mintel Store
    Mintel Store
    Get smart fast with our exclusive market research reports, delivering the latest data, innovation, trends and strategic recommendations....
    View reports
  • Global Outlook on Sustainability: A Consumer Study 2024-25
    Global Outlook on Sustainability: A Consumer Study 2024-25
    Get the latest sustainability data, with insights on consumers, products and markets to inform your innovation strategy and build your sustainability strategy....
    Find out more
Subscribe to Press Releases
Contact Press Office

Download the Latest Market Intelligence