Every generation gets unfairly maligned. Take it from a Generation Xer (who’s not a slacker) who has six baby boomer siblings (who were never hippies).
But it’s hard to remember a prior generation being accused of “killing” as many traditions and cultural habits as Generation Y — also known as millennials.
Millennials — born between 1981 and 1996, according to the Pew Research Center — are criticized for their ways, whether causing a major economic shift by buying fewer homes or for their daily consumer choices, like enjoying avocado toast. Here are once-familiar things millennials might be killing off.
1. Cable TV
Millennials aren’t the only generation cutting the cable television cord, but it’s no surprise that they’re sometimes blamed for hurting the industry. Millennials and nearly everyone else can get favorite programs on streaming video services like Amazon Prime, Hulu, SlingTV and Philo.
Want to get on this bandwagon and save some cash? Check out “4 Streaming TV Services That Cost $20 a Month — or Less.”
Millennials are less engaged with primary banks than any other current generation, says this Gallup poll.
They also are less loyal to their banks (they switch banks more often than other generations), and they’re less-engaged customers in other economic areas, too.
Diamonds aren’t necessarily a millennial’s best friend.
Millennials haven’t stopped buying diamonds, as some analysts had predicted, but their signature preferences are shaping their buying habits. They are more likely to want ethically sourced diamonds, for instance. That has led to more interest in lab-made diamonds. These synthetic diamonds compare well with mined diamonds for quality and they are more affordable.
Also, millennials are more inclined to shop online than in retail jewelry stores, and they are more willing to look beyond brand names than their elders have been, says RetailDive, an industry publication.
The golf industry is suffering. Millennials have been blamed for lacking interest in the sport, but other factors — the aging of golfers, an oversupply of golf courses and declining golf course membership — are some of the major causes for this “perfect storm,” writes Golf Operator Magazine.
Millennials, with their annual global spending power of over $600 billion a year, actually have the potential to “save golf,” the magazine speculates.
Younger Americans are waiting longer to wed, or maybe deciding they don’t need the bonds of matrimony after all.
The Pew Research Center sums it up:
“Millennials trail previous generations at the same age across three typical measures of family life: living in a family unit, marriage rates and birth rates.”
Love and marriage may go together like a horse and carriage, but when’s the last time horses and carriages were trendy?
6. Casual dining chains
We are all familiar with the world of casual dining: say, burgers and Bahama Mamas at Applebee’s. Or chicken fingers and Long Island Iced Tea at TGI Friday’s.
A restaurant industry publication in 2019, long before the coronavirus pandemic struck the restaurant business, blamed millennials for contributing to restaurants’ pain.
The nation’s largest generation is especially notable for its declining interest in casual dining chains, says RestaurantBusinessOnline.
7. Heavyweight motorcycles
Want to get your motor runnin’ and head out on the highway? If so, you’re probably old enough to know the source of those lyrics.
Millennials, though, aren’t fans of big, heavyweight recreational bikes, such as Harley Davidsons, reports CNBC. They are more interested in motorcycles as transportation, the report says.
Beer would seem to be a universal favorite across generations. And millennials love their craft beers, to be sure. But, generally, they are consuming less beer than previous generations do.
In fact, millennials have sparked a movement toward less drinking, or abstinence. It appears to be part of a larger wellness movement that millennials embrace, says The Washington Post.
9. Paper napkins
Without pinning the trend specifically on any generation, market intelligence firm Mintel writes, in a recap of its recent US Household Paper Products Market Report:
“[F]acial tissue and paper napkins continue to lose relevance. The trend of substituting paper towels for napkins and toilet paper for facial tissue has transformed these categories from everyday essentials to discretionary.”
Paper towels, apparently, are an easy and thrifty substitute for napkins. Younger generations, willing to question many things, seem more willing to innovate. And eco-conscious eaters contribute to the trend, gravitating toward cloth napkins to save trees.
10. The 9-to-5 workday
Millennials are changing the workplace. Their preference for flexible work hours over a traditional 9-to-5 schedule and their insistence on work-life balance is changing the work experience in many industries. That’s especially true where technology frees workers from working in a particular place or on a particular schedule.
In a 2019 report, The New York Times says:
“‘They have proven the model that you don’t need to be in the office 9 to 5 to be effective,’ said Ana Recio, the executive vice president of global recruiting at Salesforce, the tech company.”
It’s true that irons aren’t used much, but most homes nevertheless still have one, The Washington Post says.
Millennials certainly are “leading the slump” as purchase demand for irons falls off, Joe Derochowski, home industry adviser for the NPD Group, tells The Post.
Most modern fabrics don’t need ironing. A crisply ironed shirt or tablecloth is out of step with many people’s more relaxed fashion sense today. What’s more, a host of newer products — wrinkle-relaxing sprays and clothes steamers, for instance — make ironing passe for many things that once would have been pressed.
12. The business suit
Can you picture Mark Zuckerberg in a suit? The billionaire Facebook founder made his daily uniform of a gray T-shirt and jeans iconic. Millennials are following his lead, often seeking out jobs (and lifestyles) where informal clothes are de rigueur.
So, the next time someone tells you to “suit up,” you might feel free to say, “No, thanks.”
13. Department stores
When you grow up with the ability to shop from your couch, why would you go into a crowded department store? The different shopping habits of young people are sometimes cited as a reason why, even before the pandemic, some big department stores have been closing stores.
It’s a complicated subject, however, writes Sacramento, California’s KBET TV:
“Millennials are less likely than previous generations to shop in brick and mortar stores, but the rise in online shopping could also be to blame.”
14. Wine corks
Corks may be traditional, but other options, including synthetic “corks,” can be faster and simpler to remove.
Younger drinkers have come of age with screw caps and other options, leaving the cork industry to face an uphill climb.
Adding to it all, canned wine is “the fastest-growing segment of the market,” writes Wine Spectator.
Are millennials killing running, too? Well, running is declining in popularity and, being of prime running age, it’s possible their absence is contributing.
RunRepeat, whose focus is helping runners find the right shoes, offers a study based on race results data.
Conclusion: Participation in running events has been declining since peaking in 2016. The drop is “mainly due to a decline in participation in Europe and the U.S.”
Who’s there? Not millennials, apparently.
Millennial tech natives may have been first to stop using doorbells, preferring to text instead when they arrive at friends’ homes.
The rest of us seem happy to follow along, though, as the market grows for wireless security cameras or video doorbells.
The doorbell camera market alone was worth $1.4 billion globally in 2018, according to GrandView Research. In 2019 the U.S. market research company projected growth for the industry to increase through 2025.
Recently, it added a caveat to its reports: The coronavirus pandemic is causing upheaval in many markets.
The number of postcards stamped and sent has been declining for decades, according to U.S. Postal Service numbers collected since 1926.
When was the last time someone, other than a marketer, sent you a postcard?
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