back of spiritual millennial gen Z girl facing sea

Soul (Re)Searching: What’s Impacting Young People’s Values Today?

back of spiritual millennial gen Z girl facing sea

Every generation is accompanied by a range of values and beliefs that impact its decisions and behaviors. And in today’s fast-paced, globalized world, where the spread of culture and social change is accelerating, it is now more important than ever for brands to unpack and understand the values that guide younger generations’ consumer choices.

In our work, we’ve seen that young people’s defining values and beliefs are shifting away from once dominant value systems like organized religion, and moving towards a diverse constellation of attitudes and practices, like self-care, mindfulness, and a generalized spirituality.

We recently partnered with VICE Media to investigate what this new approach to spirituality means to Millennials and Gen Zers, and how it plays out in their lives and interactions with brands. We found that these generations are seeking meaning, purpose, and community in new places, and they embrace spirituality both individually and socially in ways that are often less structured and demanding than traditional religious communities.

What’s driving this shift to spirituality for young people?

We found that there are three key catalysts driving the rise in spirituality among younger generations:

  1. Distrust in religion: While spirituality is on the rise, young people are distancing themselves from associating with organized religion
  2. Focus on individualism: With identity becoming more fluid and lifestyle-driven, many are shying away from labels – like religious membership – that can be seen as too restrictive, or that demand more commitment than they are comfortable with
  3. Seeking community: In an increasingly digitally networked world, religious and spiritual connections no longer need to be centered on a particular neighborhood or physical space

These catalysts reflect broad societal shifts, driven by everything from recent economic crises, to claims of “fake news,” the #metoo movement, and scandals in the Catholic church, fueling declining trust in institutions and authority figures that once provided a sense of collective direction and stability for many.

As a result, we’re seeing a more individualistic, “DIY” approach to values, where a growing moral vacuum is driving Millennials and Gen Zers in particular to turn toward new ways of feeding their needs for meaning and purpose. As they grow and establish their identities in this cultural landscape, youth today are more likely to turn to the brands they engage with to take an active role on social causes and values.

young people beliefs religion individualism community infographic

What does this mean for modern brands?

Brands across industries are increasingly expected to take actions that better society and humanity just as much as they are expected to deliver on quality and price. Millennials and Gen Zers look for brands that align with and help develop their values, take a stand in today’s social discourse, and provide a sense of being part of something larger and more meaningful than a transactional product or experience. Brands that realize this opportunity can drive authenticity and desirability by aligning messaging, products, experiences, content, and even business models with the moral leadership young consumers are looking for as they move forward in their spiritual journeys.


We’d love to share more about how our unique expertise and solutions can help your business move forward. Drop us a line here, and we’ll be in touch!

Sports Betting to be Biggest Storyline of 2019

1. The biggest sports business story of 2019 will most likely be related to this league, sport or topic…

Sports betting – 49%
Esports – 9%
NFL – 8%
Streaming rights – 7%
NCAA – 6%
Upstart pro football leagues – 6%
Sports TV ratings – 3%
NBA – 3%
MLB – 2%
MLS – 1%
Soccer – 1%
NHL – 0%
IndyCar – 0%
Fight sports – 0%
Not sure / No response – 2%

2. In 2019, sponsorship revenue from sports betting will make it ___________ sponsorship category in professional sports.

The leading – 2%
A top 5 – 28%
A top 10 – 40%
A top 20 – 24%
An unimportant – 3%
Not sure / No response – 3%

3. Which of these sports will receive the biggest influx of new sponsorship dollars in 2019?

Esports – 40%
NBA – 19%
NFL – 19%
MLS – 8%
MLB – 5%
NHL – 3%
Not sure / No response – 6%

4. At the end of 2019, which of the following esports properties will have attracted larger audiences for their respective competitions?

Overwatch League – 28%
League of Legends – 17%
Not sure / No response – 55%

5. When all of these are completed, which venue would you most like to visit?

New Raiders Stadium in Las Vegas – 38%
New LA Rams/Chargers Stadium – 32%
Chase Center, Golden State Warriors – 22%
New Cincinnati FC Stadium – 2%
Allianz Field, Minnesota United FC – 2%
Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee Bucks – 1%
Not sure / No response – 3%

6. If you were the owner of a professional sports team, where would you choose to build its venue?

In a central, downtown location with limited opportunity for adjacent real estate development – 63%
In a location in the suburbs where there is ample opportunity for adjacent real estate development – 34%
Not sure / No response – 3%

7. Should professional sports teams receive public funding for the construction or renovation of their venues?

Yes – 61%
No – 36%
Not sure / No response – 3%

8. What should be the lifespan of a sports venue?

Less than 10 years – 0%
10-19 years – 9%
20-29 years – 40%
30-39 years – 33%
40-49 years – 6%
50+ years – 11%
Not sure / No response – 1%

9. What is your favorite part of the Super Bowl?

The game – 48%
The social experience – 32%
The commercials – 15%
The food – 3%
Not sure / No response – 2%

10. Hosting the Super Bowl abroad is a…

Good idea – 23%
Bad idea – 75%
Not sure / No response – 2%

11. Which of the following new professional football leagues will be around five years from their respective launch? (Select all that apply)

XFL, led by Vince McMahon – 22%
Alliance of American Football (AAF), led by Charlie Ebersol – 19%
American Flag Football League, led by Jeff Lewis – 18%
Not sure / No response – 43%

12. If you were the Commissioner of an upstart professional football league, which of the following moves would you be most likely to make?

Position the league as an NFL developmental / minor league – 43%
Place franchises in non-NFL cities – 32%
Build rosters with ex-NFL/college stars – 19%
Promote a patriotic brand image – 2%
Not sure / No response – 4%

13. Will the launch of three new professional football leagues stimulate growth in youth football participation rates?

Yes – 18%
No – 74%
Not sure / No response – 8%

One Question on the Lighter Side:

14. Your New Year’s resolutions tend to be related to your…

Personal improvement – 38%
Health – 33%
Career development – 7%
N/A – new year’s resolutions are not my style – 22%
Not sure / No response – 0%

15. Thinking about your own particular business, what best describes your confidence level regarding the next 12 months for your own business?

7 – Extremely optimistic – 12%
6 – Very optimistic – 38%
5 – Somewhat optimistic – 33%
4 – Neither optimistic nor pessimistic – 12%
3 – Somewhat pessimistic – 4%
2 – Very pessimistic – 1%
1 – Extremely pessimistic – 0%

The Turnkey Sports Poll is a monthly survey of 2,500 sports industry executives representing teams, leagues, governing bodies, facilities, media, events, agencies and brands. The poll covers current events and topics affecting sports business and takes 2-3 minutes to complete. Results are published in the Sports Business Journal and on Turnkey’s website. To be considered as a TSP panelist, please click here and enter your business contact information.