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 the millennials.
Millennials — people born between 1981 and 1996, according to the Pew Research Center — have gotten a lot of criticism for breaking away from previous generations, whether it represents a major economic shift such as not buying homes, or a daily consumer choice like shunning breakfast cereal. (Pass the avocado toast, please.)
Looking at the trends millennials are not buying into can tell us a bit about which companies and industries may be slipping away. Here are 25 things millennials might be killing off.
1. Starter homes
If you’re a millennial, buying any home in many U.S. markets may seem forever out of reach. Some experts have speculated that millennials are skipping the starter home category altogether and are buying — or plan to buy — larger homes, perhaps due to having socked some money away while spending those extra years renting/living in Mom’s basement.
If you are a millennial — or anyone else — who is ready to buy, check out “9 Ways to Pull Together the Down Payment for a Home.”
Don’t tell President Donald Trump— an avid golfer with his name attached to numerous golf course properties — but millennials reportedly aren’t fans of the game. Researcher Matt Powell told Business Insider in 2016 that this generation isn’t picking up golf — which isn’t a cheap hobby to get into — and that baby boomers are aging out of it.
Hey, golf’s just not everyone’s cup of tee.
3. Cable TV
Millennials aren’t the only generation that’s cutting the cable television cord, but it’s no surprise that they’re getting the blame for hurting the industry. Viewers can get programs on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO’s standalone streaming service and many other options.
Younger viewers who’ve grown up with that kind of flexibility are unlikely ever to go back to the days when you could only watch what some suit in a New York office programmed for you at a certain hour.
Want to get on this bandwagon and save yourself some cash? Check out “With Live Streaming TV You May Be Able to Ditch Cable and Save Money.”
As Bloomberg notes, younger Americans are waiting longer to wed, or maybe deciding they don’t need the bonds of matrimony after all.
More than half of today’s 25- to 34-year-olds are single, but back in 1980, more than two-thirds of people in that age group already were married. Meanwhile, the chance that they are living with parents or grandparents has doubled.
Love and marriage may go together like a horse and carriage, but when’s the last time horses and carriages were trendy?
5. Casual dining chains
You know 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. Business Insider quotes the CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings as blaming millennials for the struggles of such chain restaurants.
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 aren’t fans of motorcycles, CNBC reported in 2017. “Our data suggests the younger Gen Y population is adopting motorcycling at a far lower rate than prior generations,” one analyst wrote. As it happens, they’re not huge fans of cars, either.
Beer would seem to be a universal favorite across generations, but millennials aren’t downing brews like other age groups. (They’re still sipping wine, though.)
The trend may last — the generation coming behind millennials is said to prefer smoking pot to drinking alcohol.
Cereal seems pretty simple. Open box, pour into bowl, eat.
But millennials are getting the blame for cereal’s decline, too — and for a weird reason. The New York Times wrote that 40 percent of the millennials surveyed in one report said cereal “was an inconvenient breakfast choice because they had to clean up after eating it.” Maybe it’s time to bring back the in-box prizes!
Millennials are big on staying in shape, but apparently not through traditional gyms. The New York Post reported several years ago that this generation prefers “boutique studio classes, online streaming services, running clubs, CrossFit gyms” and other such options, not the standard general-service workout gym.
Sensing a trend? As with casual dining, this group is trying out new options, and sometimes that means old ones fall by the wayside.
Want to go one step further on your fitness goals? Check out “6 Simple Tips for Sticking to Your 2019 Fitness Resolutions.”
This might be the funniest entry on the list: The Washington Post claims millennials are killing the paper napkin! Paper towels, apparently, are an easy substitute, especially for younger generations.
What goes around, comes around: Cloth napkins ruled the dinner table until the 1950s, when the easy, disposable paper option became popular. Martha Stewart may not approve, but for a generation that’s also eschewing Grandma’s china, paper towels seem to be cleaning up just fine.
11. Movie theaters
Anyone who’s gone to a movie recently knows the cinema industry has changed. From fancy 3-D and Imax options to theaters with recliners, reserved seats and full-on menus, this is not your grandfather’s cineplex.
Younger moviegoers are staying away from movie theaters more than other age groups, the New York Post reports.
If you’re hoping to view low-cost flicks, check out the pointers in “16 Ways to Stream Movies and TV Shows for Free.”
Gen Xers grew up watching “The Love Boat,” where the Pacific Princess sailed for warm ports and romantic rendezvous every Saturday night. But millennials missed that show, and apparently they aren’t too crazy about the cruise industry either.
An article from Caribbean News Service reports that these younger travelers prefer more “authentic” experiences. But what’s Isaac the bartender going to do with all those fruity drinks on the Lido Deck?
Millennials aren’t the only ones shunning banks: With the prevalence of automated teller machines and the ability to transfer money between accounts online, consumers from many generations may not have to walk through the physical door of a bank ever again.
14. The 9-to-5 workday
Dolly Parton famously sang, “Workin’ 9 to 5, what a way to make a livin’.” But millennials are cutting themselves free from that clock-chained work schedule.
Numerous reports have suggested that millennials place a premium on flexibility in the workplace. And, hey, in this day and age, when most workers check business email from their phones, the flexibility helps bosses just as much as it does employees.
Is ironing anyone’s favorite chore? With fewer millennials wearing formal clothes (see the next slide), ironing is falling out of favor, too.
As Bustle has pointed out, many modern fabrics don’t need it, and there are several cheats nowadays, including using a wrinkle-releaser spray, tossing the item back in the dryer or hanging it in a steamy bathroom. Now, that’s a new wrinkle.
16. The 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 want to say no.
17. Department stores
When you grow up with the ability to shop from your couch, why would you ever go into a crowded department store? Millennials just don’t have the shop-till-you-drop attitude prior generations may have held regarding big department stores.
In fact, the different shopping habits of young people have been cited as a reason that retailers such as Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Nordstrom have closed some of their stores.
18. Wine corks
Remember that earlier slide about millennials preferring wine to beer? Make that “wine that doesn’t use traditional corks.” The Atlantic took a look at how the youngest drinkers came of age with screw caps and other options, leaving the cork industry facing an uphill climb.
Corks may be traditional, but other options are much faster and simpler to remove. We’ll drink to that.
Are millennials killing running, too? A Wall Street Journal article blames the generation for a decline in competitive running, at least when it comes to race finishers.
With so many other alternative workouts to choose from (see the “Gyms” entry a few slides back), who’s surprised? Guess they just weren’t born to run.
20. Bar soap
Your bathtub may have a built-in soap dish, but chances are you haven’t used it in a while. Body wash has pushed old-fashioned bar soap to the back of the shower for many, and millennials aren’t about to bring it back.
MarketWatch reported a few years back that 60 percent of consumers ages 18 to 24 think bar soaps are “covered in germs” after use.
Ding-dong! Who’s there? Not millennials, apparently. The Wall Street Journal reports that millennials and members of the upcoming Generation Z are accustomed to texting as they arrive at a friend’s home, with some calling the sound of a ringing doorbell “terrifying.”
Diamonds aren’t a millennial’s best friend.
The Daily Beast spoke to a senior industry analyst at the Gemological Institute of America who said that while diamond sales aren’t declining, sales are static — in part because millennials have other places to put the big chunk of cash needed to buy a diamond engagement ring or other baubles.
23. Lottery tickets
There’s an old joke: The lottery is a tax on those who are bad at math. Meaning, of course, that the odds of winning are so high, anyone who can figure that out is probably using their money for other things.
The Huffington Post noted back in 2016 that millennials were passing on buying lotto tickets. So, millennials must be really good at math. Or, as some experts theorize, their discretionary income is too precious to be spent on long-shot dreams of yachts and mansions.
24. Fabric softener
Here’s another quirky one: Millennials are apparently killing fabric softener. You know, the additive you toss into the clothes dryer to keep your outfits soft.
Fabric softener is something young people just don’t find necessary these days, the Wall Street Journal reports. Washing machines and clothing fabrics have improved so much that younger consumers don’t see a need for one more purchase from the store’s laundry-product aisle.
Having a great time, wish you were writing me a postcard. The fun photo cards tourists used to regularly scoop up on vacation are in trouble with younger travelers, Moneyish claims.
Twenty-five years ago, more than 20 million postcards were sold annually, but that’s now down to 5 million or 6 million, the site says. Can you guess what’s replacing them? Hold on, let me take a selfie of my international trip and post it on social media while I think about what that could possibly be.
What else is on the way out with the rise of the millennial generation? Share your observations in comments below or on our Facebook page.