What was Covid-19 lockdown like for Gen Z in India?

We conducted nationwide research across India to find out what was on young people’s minds throughout the lockdown phase, as well as what they expected to do post-quarantine.

Here’s some of what we learned:

Young Indians felt anxious when the lockdown began and coped by acting responsibly. India’s Gen Z stepped up to the emotional challenge of the lockdown in typical fashion – by being grounded and adaptable. When asked their main reasons for social distancing, keeping their families safe was the most important goal. Increases in the topics they were searching for online also reflect their mindset during that time – hand washing (+643%), easy recipes (+110%), online prayer (+110%), and online workouts (+108%).

They believe in the power of giving, even though some of them lost work. A third of the young Indians we surveyed said they had donated to the poor and 17% gave to government or state relief funds. Aside from financial contributions, many were willing to provide other kinds of support – 61% said they had offered to drop off groceries and supplies to those who were quarantined at home. More than 1 in 10 (13%) of those living in metros lost jobs or internships due to the lockdown.

Quarantine gave them a sense of gratitude, but some have struggled with their mental health. Some consequences of the lockdown were beneficial – 61% of young Indians said they better appreciate domestic help and other essential services. They also mentioned that the lockdown gave them a greater understanding of the importance of nature, open spaces, meeting people, and going to the office. But that’s not to say it’s been easy. Their families (65%) and friends (44%) kept their spirits up, as did online videos (71%) and inspiring TV shows and movies (30%). However, a third felt they needed some form of mental health help.

They really miss dining out and travel – and are willing to take some chances with dating. The activities India’s Gen Z missed most in quarantine were eating out (66%) and travel (57%). Those in cities predicted they would eat out at least as much as they had previously once restaurants reopened (70%). In travel, they said they would avoid flying and prefer Airbnb over hotels. Nearly a third thought they would use more personal transportation in the future. Some also looked forward to post-lockdown dating – 41% said they would go out on dates, especially if they knew the person already, and 42% were open to kissing on the first date.

Some of their lockdown shopping habits are likely to continue. More than half of young Indians (55%) expected to continue shopping online for clothing and personal products like face cream and perfume at least as much as they had previously. The kinds of brands they predicted that they’d prefer going forward were those with contactless delivery and online shipping (44%), local brands (37%) and brands that supported Covid relief (28%).