Post-pandemic, more youngsters want to earn from their hobbies: MTV Youth Study 2021

Study titled ‘Atmanirbhar by Circumstance’ tracks Gen Z's evolving aspirations, and habits.

Mumbai: Over 67 per cent of youth prefer streaming content of their choice, as it allows them to watch the content of their choice, without having to pretend or fear being judged. Majority of them also feel that it makes them more expressive and free, showed the latest MTV Youth Study - ‘Atmanirbhar by Circumstance’ released by MTV Insights Studio, on Friday.

The study covering over 26,000 respondents aged between 15 and 25 years from 50 Indian cities, attempts to provide a comprehensive overview of India’s Gen Z population, reflecting their evolving behavior, mindsets, habits, and perceptions amid a raging pandemic.

At least 21 per cent of Gen Z feel that following their passion is the most important thing in life rather than having a stable job, trending up exponentially from 9 per cent in 2016. With side-hustle gaining more importance in Gen Zers' lives, 70 per cent felt side-hustles are the real shot to fame and success and 69 per cent felt they would want to earn from their hobbies.

According to the study, ‘money’ holds prime importance for them in a post-Covid world. Over 46 per cent of respondents said "money is all that matters", up from 21 per cent in 2019. Another 46 per cent said they would rather focus on being rich and successful instead of living a meaningful life, up from 25 per cent in 2019. 74 per cent felt there are a lot of undiscovered careers and ways to make money.

According to the report, more youth consider watching shows as a method of escapism into an imaginary world. The share of such respondents has gone up from 12 per cent in 2019 to 21 per cent post the pandemic.

“2020 has been a pivotal year in so many ways. This edition of our youth study is the first such exercise post the first wave of the pandemic," said Viacom18 head for youth music and English entertainment Anshul Ailawadi. "It offers a rare glimpse into how young Indians are coping with a changing world in which every aspect of their lives – from their education and relationships to their careers and interests – needs to be rebuilt."

The in-depth qualitative and quantitative study offers to be a go-to handbook for the advertising and marketing community to steer communications for youth in the right direction. Among other findings, the report also found that 43 per cent of youth believe listening to music kept them emotionally healthy and consider it their top stressbuster.

Gen Zers’ belief in true love also continues to decline. One out of every two respondents said they flirted with someone else apart from their boyfriend or girlfriend during the lockdown. At least 25 per cent said they don’t believe in marriage up from 10 per cent in 2019 and 8 per cent in 2016. Over 13 per cent shared they are in a committed relationship down from 26 per cent  in 2019 and 35 per cent in  2016. They are less likely to date someone they meet online and believe that people treat relationships like stories – ‘here today, gone tomorrow'.

The study indicates that although Gen Zers are extremely vocal on subjects of national interest, they have muted participation in on-ground events. Over 83 per cent agree that political topics are a part of peer conversations.

The findings are a result of 185 questions covering seven broad topics: education, money, romance, national interests, content, family, friends, and spirituality, and the Covid-19 outlook.

Given the negativity and volatility of the world around them, Gen Z is seeking refuge in family, religion, and friends. 52 per cent attributed their happiness to their family, up from 42 per cent in 2019 and 13 per cent in 2016. During the lockdown, 65 per cent of respondents said their families were the most motivating factor. Being family-oriented rose to the top of their partner's priority list. 70 per cent felt more in control of their life after prayer and 62 per cent said being spiritual gave them clarity in a confusing world. 42 per cent would avoid having friends who compete with them, up from 18 per cent in 2019; 45 per cent felt friends are only for fun, up from 25 per cent in 2019

Over 56 per cent Gen Zers believe that life will be back to normal overthrowing the concept of the ‘new normal’ after Covid-19 subsides. As many as 51 per cent will wait for the right opportunity to come their way instead of going after just anything that is offered to them.

“Overall, the findings indicate, India’s Gen Z is increasingly becoming independent or Atmanirbhar while continuing to ride high on aspirations. We hope this research empowers new age as well as legacy brands that are looking to deepen connect and build trust with their Gen Z consumer,” Ailawadi added.

The launch of the report also saw participation from leading brands such as Godrej, Dabur, Dell Technologies, and Spotify kicking off a discussion on Gen-Zfying brands. The launch also had Gen Z representation from AIESEC, a non-governmental and not-for-profit organisation entirely run by youth for youth.

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