Skift Research Take
Millennials have been in the travel industry’s spotlight for years already, yet they still remain somewhat of a mystery. As they continue to gain spending power, their successor generation, Gen Z, is hot on their heels. Thinking about these generational cohorts as a global collective however, risks painting the picture with too broad a brush.
Skift Research presents the first ever edition of our Millennial and Gen Z Traveler Survey. As these generational groups continue to grow in population share and spending power, it’s becoming paramount for travel brands to understand these cohorts as unique groups, both from each other and from the generations that have come before them. Understanding their habits, preferences, and values is key to attracting them as customers.
Making global claims about generational cohorts, however, risks painting the picture with too broad a brush. The terms “Millennial” and “Gen Z” themselves are predominantly a “western” way of defining generations. Additionally, country and cultural differences often have a larger bearing on behavior and values than generation does. To fully understand these age groups from a global perspective, it’s imperative to compare them side by side across countries at various developmental stages — economically and culturally. For this reason, our online survey collected responses from travelers aged 16 to 38 who reside in five major travel markets around the world: The United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, China, and India.
This data-intensive report presents and analyzes the findings of the surveys from each country. We compare the five countries to one another overall (Millennials + Gen Z) in order to spotlight larger regional trends. We then take a deeper dive into each of the countries one by one, slicing highlights from the data by four finer-tuned age groups: Young Gen Z (16–18 year olds), Old Gen Z (19–22), Young Millennials (23–30), and Old Millennials (31–38). The report ends with a look at a few key areas where these four age groups differ from one another the most across the five countries, highlighting where generational cohort differences are consistent and inconsistent across the globe.
Skift Research’s Millennial and Gen Z Traveler Survey 2019 collected responses from respondents ages 16–38 who reside in five countries around the world. Around 1,000 responses each were collected from the U.S. (1,046), China (1,143), and India (1,015), due to the larger size of these markets, and around 500 each were collected from the UK (509) and Australia (523).
To qualify, respondents had to indicate that they had taken at least one leisure trip in the last 12 months. For this project, a leisure trip is defined as at least one night’s paid stay 50 miles or more from home. They also had to indicate their current age as 16 to 38 years old. For all countries, our final responses came from approximately 30% Gen Z (16–22) and 70% Millennials (23–38).
All surveys except for China were fielded in English to English-speaking respondents, and currencies and other items were localized accordingly. The China survey was translated into simplified Chinese. The surveys were fielded by a trusted third-party consumer panel provider.
What You'll Learn From This Report
How Young Gen Z, Old Gen Z, Young Millennial, and Old Millennial travelers compare to each other within each country, including:
The types of trips they prefer
Trip planning preferences and behaviors
Participation in loyalty programs
Top social media platforms for each age group and where they follow travel-related accounts or influencers
Participation in certain travel activities like shopping and trying local foods
- How Millennial/Gen Z travelers compare to each other in the U.S., UK, Australia, China, and India, including:
- Their trip incidence
- Their biggest motivators for travel
- The most important destination characteristics to them
- Travel planning behavior, including what websites and devices are preferred
- Air travel, accommodation, and activity booking behavior, including preferred booking methods and devices used
- How they view spending on travel, including their spending responsibility and priorities
- Participation and interest in travel loyalty programs
- Online behavior, including the most popular social media platforms
- How important sustainability is to them
- Participation rates in types of trips like cruise and wellness trips
- Interest in certain travel activities like adventure experiences and shopping
- Use of alternative accommodations and ridesharing services while traveling