For Gen-Z, Side Hustles Are Just Another Way To Generate Income


Limei Hoang | November 17, 2021

Credit: Photo by Keira Burton from Pexels.

The value of Gen-Z’s disposable income has now reached $360 billion in the United States, more than double the figure previously estimated in 2018, according to a new study by research and advisory firm Gen Z Planet.

The value of income generated from viable side hustles represents just a small part of how Gen Zers in the United States earn their cash, despite reaching an impressive $40 billion. In fact, this generation’s disposable income reached an estimated $360 billion in 2021, more than double the previous figure of $143 billion estimated three years ago, demonstrating the growing influence of this generation's spending power.

Around 43 percent of the 16-23-year-olds surveyed for the study said that they had at least one side hustle on the go. From selling old items over the internet, or becoming a micro or nano influencer, Gen Zers generate on average around $274 a month from these entrepreneurial endeavours.

“With $360 billion to spend, the opportunities for brands are many,” said Hana Ben-Shabat, CEO and Founder, Gen Z Planet and author of the recently published book, Gen Z 360: Preparing for the Inevitable Change in Culture, Work, and Commerce. “Appealing to this generation is not easy though. Affordable prices, inclusivity in product and advertising, and purpose backed with actions are just a few things Gen Zers are looking for before they open their wallets."

"Gen Zers take on every opportunity to generate extra cash," she added. "From taking surveys to reselling used items online, Gen Zers learned to capitalize on the possibilities afforded to them by a digital economy. The fact that so many Gen Zers reported to having a side hustle was one of the surprising findings of our study."

The study, released by research and advisory firm Gen Z Planet, found that the income that Gen Zers earn from full-time or part-time employment is estimated at around $263 billion, with discretionary spending money from their parents valued at $57 billion.

Based on analysis of employment and earnings data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census’ Current Population Survey, the study also surveys a representative sample of 1000 Gen Zers to establish the level of parental financial support, as well as the extent to which members of this generation adopted side hustles as a viable income stream.

And despite common misconceptions about younger generations, Gen Zers who grew up during the 2008 recession and who are now experiencing the impact of COVID-19 across multiple aspects of their lives, this generation is actually very cautious, calculated and long-term orientated when it comes to money. 85 percent of those surveyed said they save between a quarter and half of the money they earn or receive from their parents, and 26 percent said they are also invested in the stock market, retirement accounts (14 percent), and Non Fungible Tokens (6 percent).

"More Gen Zers are joining the workforce every year, many are taking on entrepreneurial side hustles to make extra cash and those who are supported by their parents get bigger allowances as they grow up," said Ben-Shabat.

“Like Millennials before them, Gen Zers face the very real danger of being misunderstood,” she added. “Brands, marketers, and retailers that take the time to truly understand how this entrepreneurially minded and financially switched-on generation thinks and behaves will quickly benefit from their growing spending power.”

Welcome to Data Digest, our breakdown of the latest data releases and reports focused on the luxury industry.

Data Digest | Generation Z | Study