Anyone who hasn’t had their head stuck in the sand over the past years can easily notice that times are changing. Consumers today are much more savvy, often use the internet to do most of their shopping, stream films rather than buy or rent them, and generally have a much shorter attention span than before. Many products and industries that used to thrive, such as DVD rentals, have all but disappeared, and we’re seeing retail sales down year by year as Amazon grows stronger.
Along with these incredible socio-economic changes, we’re also seeing a generation that’s obsessed with their phones, drives electric cars, and has more debt by age 25 than anyone in any former generation. This specific situation created lots of unique habits for buyers nowadays, which are constantly evolving . These also lead to the death of some older purchasing habits which were popular in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Here we have some of those habits.
Lottery Ticket Sales Are Declining
Our grandparents and parents used to love buying lottery tickets. Younger people who are more well-versed in math and the internet were appalled by the idea that you’d pay money for something that just won’t happen. Mathematicians have calculated that the odds of winning a lottery are so abysmally small, that you’re literally better off gambling your money instead. This habit of paying for lottery tickets is starting to die out, and that’s a good thing.
Today’s internet-savvy kids have already watched all the YouTube videos they need to convince them never to play the lottery. We’ve also seen enough statistical evidence which suggests that even lottery winners end up broke, in debt, or with severe family issues. A recent Gallup poll found that 61% of people aged 50 to 64 play for lottery tickets, while only about 33% of millennials participate in it.
Stilettos Are Going Out of Fashion
Today's generation cares a lot more about productivity and comfort than they do about fashion. Just look at any fashion show and you’ll see that clothing today isn’t what it used to be. Back in the ‘90s, stilettos were a popular way for a woman to “show” off their features and attract some wanted attention. Nowadays, it just seems like a huge chore, and if there’s one thing that millennials hate, it’s chores!
You’d be hard-pressed to find millennials wearing high heels or stilettos in this day and age. It’s much more likely to see them wearing boots or sneakers, which are both selling like crazy in the US and Europe. There’s still a market for heels, but they are definitely not as mainstream as they used to be.
Millennials Expect Companies to Make Charitable Donations
An interesting piece of data that has recently surfaced, is that a majority of millennials claim that they expect the brands and companies that they purchase from to make donations to various charities. It seems that today’s generation has a strong moral sense, just like our previous generation. The only difference is that this compass is aimed outside, mostly focusing on society-level changes, rather than on a set of personal values and how each individual can help the community.
This becomes quite clear when we see the top brands in the world, like Microsoft, Google, and Starbucks, and see that many of them prioritize values such as inclusion, equality, environmentalism, and more, almost using them as advertisements.
They Absolutely Love Buying Mobile Phones
Let’s face it, millennials are absolutely addicted to their phones. Phone sales have peaked in recent years, with some millennials forking their last few dollars (sometimes even going in debt) just to buy the brand new iPhone. In the past, these devices used to be about simple communication and practical necessity. Nowadays, many millennials treat their phones as status symbols, showing just how sophisticated they are for having the latest Android or iPhone.
There has been a small resurgence of classic phones in recent years, with companies like Motorola trying to revive their dead flip-phone model, this time with a touch screen. Phone technology has stagnated recently, with the biggest improvements usually being around cameras and social media fluidity. However, we do expect to see a very different set of mobile phones in the next few years.
Postcards Are Turning Into a Thing of the Past
Back in the day, everyone used to either collect or use postcards. Letters were the main way for people to communicate with others. Nowadays, it’s almost like a joke. This is especially true when you consider all the bad press that the post office gets, coupled with the fact that you can instantly send a message to someone across the other side of the world. Back in the day, about 20 million postcards were sold annually. That number is now down by about 75%, and this decline is just accelerating.
With apps such as Facebook and Whatsapp, what’s the point of sending a physical letter anymore? The only thing that made postcards unique is the fact they came with various photos of beautiful locations on them. With technology, it’s fairly easy to get photos of anywhere you like, whenever you want them, which makes the whole postcard thing obsolete.
Napkin Sales Are Rapidly Declining
Back in the days when family dinners were still a thing, families used to need a large amount of napkins due to the mess associated with such meals. You’d have many napkins scattered across the table, usually one or two for each guest, and another pack of them in the middle of the table. In today’s modern age of fast food, and much more streamlined eating, people don’t really buy napkins anymore, because they simply don’t use them.
Millennials are much more prone to just using their shirt or a towel to clean their food leftovers. There was an important consumer studies report that made this fact extremely clear. Less than two decades ago, about 60% of households reported they buy napkins. Today, that number is just about 40%.
Millennials Hate Business Suits
Almost every adult who has worked in the corporate sector used to wear suits in the ‘80s and ‘90s. You would walk across the streets of Manhattan and be surrounded by men and women everywhere wearing business attire. Nowadays, we have a much more laid-back style of work in various businesses, especially tech companies, which cause most millennials to go to work in either casual or even beach attire.
There’s only a handful of industries that still require the classic business attire. These are mostly professions where optics are just as important as performance. We still have people in law and finance wearing suits, but almost every other industry has ditched these in favor of more casual T-shirts and denim jeans. If you take a look at some of the younger billionaires in the US and Europe, you’ll notice that most of them dress like your average college student.
Board Game Sales Are on the Decline
Millennials are much more accustomed to digital games, and almost always prefer a good video game over a real-life board game. Many of these board games have also been digitized and turned into phone apps and computer games, making them much less appealing to your average consumer. The only people left buying board games are die-hard nerds and families who still hold traditional games as an important activity (rather than subjecting their children to screens all day).
Despite overall sale drops, some news outlets have reported that interest in board games has been rising lately. It seems that some millennials are getting a bit tired of being in front of computers and mobile screens all day long, and are looking for a more real and social experience. The best example of this is the German board game "Settlers of Catan", which has recently risen in popularity despite originally being released in 1995.
Fabric Softeners Are Almost Extinct
Most millennials today don’t even do their own laundry, not to mention know what a fabric softener is. With the rise of feminism and the decline of the stay-at-home mother, many men and women today are opting to have their parents help them with boring household chores. Millennials are too busy for it, since they spend most of their time either online, buried in student debt, or publicly protesting a social justice cause.
Recent surveys found that many millennials don’t even know what a fabric softener is. This statistic is even more evident when you realize that in the past decade, fabric softener sales have dropped by more than 15%. Today’s washing machines are a lot more advanced and tend to promote the easiest use possible, which makes this old material practically unnecessary and almost extinct. It’s expected that by 2030, fabric softeners will be a thing of the past, just like DVDs and rotary phones.
Millennials Are Too Broke For Life Insurance and Stocks
Back in the day, our parents and grandparents made a huge deal out of having life insurance and owning stock portfolios. When the stock market collapsed in 2008 though, everyone’s confidence took a significant blow, and today, people are much more skeptical about investing. It’s been estimated that about three-quarters of all millennials don’t have life insurance, not because they don’t want it, but because they simply can’t afford it.
Another survey found that only about 13% of millennials have even considered investing in the stock market. Many experts speculate that this is due to them seeing two full-blown market crashes throughout their lifetimes. After seeing their parents lose their minds when their portfolios got cut in half in 2008 and 2009, they are much more apprehensive about investing.
Colleges Are Getting Paid Extravagant Sums From Students
Student debts are much higher than ever before, while the actual effectiveness of having tuition is going down rapidly. Back in the day, colleges were mostly reserved for the rich, gifted, smartest, hardest-working, and privileged. Nowadays, everyone goes to college and university. This makes them much less desirable to employers, especially when considering the rise of many non-viable degrees that don’t actually help you find a job later in life. Almost half of all graduates find themselves working jobs they didn’t aim for, even years after they graduated.
One of the more recent solutions to this massive crisis is called “Income Sharing Agreements”. These are revolutionary payment models for colleges and universities, where the institution only gets paid if they actually help you find a high-paying job in your profession. You basically get to study and receive your credentials for free, and only pay a percentage of your salary later, once you’re already successful. These are obviously more geared towards more “solid” degrees that prepare you for a high-paying job, but that doesn’t take away from the amazing change that this new financial model will likely bring.
Razor Companies Are Freaking Out Because of Bearded Millennials
Razor companies are honestly losing their minds right now because of these pesky millennial trends. One of the newest and most unique changes in this generation is a strong preference for growing bears. Probably half of the millennials you meet in colleges, universities, and tech campuses have some form of a beard that makes them feel unique.
This is in line with their strong desire to show their individuality. It also manifests itself in stronger demand for tattoos, earrings and other body-altering procedures. Some companies, such as Dollar Shave Club, have managed to succeed despite today’s less shaving population, but other brands, such as Gillette, are seriously struggling and attempting to appeal more to women now.
Younger People Don’t Really Use Doorbells Anymore
The whole idea of a doorbell was that your house is a big place and you might not hear a knock on the door. In today’s modern times of millennials living in tiny apartments, it really doesn’t matter which part of the house they’re in. We’d argue that they might not hear a knock from their basement, but most millennials today don’t even have basements!
Another reason for doorbells becoming a lot less popular, is that people prefer to just text or call when they visit. When someone visits your apartment, it’s usually either a friend, your family, or a delivery guy bringing you food. Either way, in all three of these examples, the visitor has your phone number. This makes it much more comfortable to just call or text, rather than awkwardly ringing a doorbell.
Organic Foods Are Hurting Processed Food Sales
Many millennials won’t even buy food that doesn’t have the word “organic” on it. This is partly because of their ethical beliefs, where something like organic meat usually means the animal was treated better, and partly due to health fads. This is a great excuse for companies to seriously jack up their food prices, as organic products often cost a lot more than regular ones.
Companies that aren’t willing to cater to today’s green, vegan, organic (insert your healthy words of choice here) demands from millennials, are seeing their sales drop. This is due to both the higher demand for such foods, as well as much stiffer competition from online retailers who will just ship food straight to your door.
Millennials Prefer to Pay For Online Courses
Why go to a small class thirty minutes away from your house when you can learn from the comfort of your home or phone, usually for cheaper prices? A massive shift in recent years has been a steady rise in the E-Learning space, where entire online universities are being set up that teach you everything you’ll ever need to know, both personally and professionally, for a fraction of the price.
Many millennials are also using YouTube as their source of information. You can find everything on the platform, from video essays that break down philosophical and historical topics, up to certain professors uploading their full courses online for free. Information is certainly becoming extremely accessible in today’s day and age.
Millennials Are Opting For Rental Apps Rather Than Hotels
When people from our previous generation wanted to go on vacation, the first thing they did was look for the best flight and hotel package they could find. It seems that today’s generation is much less fond of the classic vacation package, which is why hotels' profits are suffering. Recent services, such as the popular Airbnb, have made vacation apartment renting a much more popular and appealing option, due to the lower prices and more authentic experience.
Hotels, which are more traditional forms of vacationing, are now mostly geared towards families and business trips. Even frugal travelers are starting to ditch cheaper hotels, such as the Holiday Inn. What’s the point of paying extra for house cleaning and other services when you can just rent a small apartment for a few days for a much cheaper price?
They’re Driving Prices Down
An interesting study recently found that millennials pay much less attention and respect to a brand’s name, reputation or product quality. The main decision that drives a millennial to purchase a product from one brand over another almost always prices. Most millennials report that they would happily switch brands if they find an alternative that is 30% cheaper.
It’s much less common nowadays to see a crazy stampede running into the mall on these kinds of occasions; what you’re much more likely to find is millions and millions of people making frenzied purchases online for the cheapest prices.
Going to Supermarkets and Buying Groceries
One of the most popular activities for young families is going to the supermarket together and “hunting” for various foods for the week. This activity has obviously declined considerably in the last few decades, largely due to millennials refusing to start families, or leave their homes, for that matter. Nowadays, you can just open an app and get everything you need delivered to your home. In fact, Amazon is actively pursuing a future where consumable products are automatically purchased, delivered and replaced in your fridge the moment they run out.
With the ease of ordering food online and getting it straight to your door, it's hardly a surprise that you almost never see millennials at supermarkets. Another reason for the decline in offline retail sales is the inability to compare prices. Why go through the effort of purchasing something in a retail store, when you can find the same item for a cheaper price using your phone in mere seconds?
Millennials Prefer Soap Bottles to Soap Bars
Today’s generation has more awareness around hygiene. Consider millennials' aversion to soap bars. They favor soap bottles that don't require directly applying the whole bar to your skin, although the older generation wouldn't agree. There’s no scientific basis why soap bars would be less clean than regular soap bottles, but millennials clearly mind a lot.
A recent survey by MarketWatch found that 60% of millennials feel that soap bars are full of germs and are disgusted by them. This is in sharp contrast to more than 60% of Americans aged 65 and above who say that they’ll be happy to wash their faces with soap bars.
Cereals Are Becoming a Thing of the Past
This generation is always criticized by their parents as being entitled, privileged and too sensitive. Many would say they expect everyone else to do everything for them. It’s clear by today’s technological advances and relative prosperity why that would be the case. One of the more recent victims of this socio-economical and psychological trend is that cereal is starting to disappear as a popular breakfast option. About 40% of millennials have stated that they do not eat cereal for breakfast, according to a recent survey by The New York Times.
Their main reason for this answer might make you pluck your hair out, or it might just make sense if you’re a millennial yourself. Most young people today don’t eat cereal for breakfast because they, and we are quoting, think it “was an inconvenient breakfast choice because they had to clean up after eating it”. It’s apparently too much work nowadays to wash a spoon and bowl.
Millennials Don’t Really Ride Motorcycles
In addition to vehicle sales going down, motorcycle sales have seen some of the biggest declines in recent years due to millennials simply not driving them. You may have noticed that these kinds of vehicles are becoming rarer and rarer over time, with only sports motorcycles and Harley Davidson's appearing occasionally on the road. In terms of purchasing age groups, no single group has shown less interest in motorcycles than millennials.
There are a few reasons why millennials choose to give up on these two-wheel driving options. First, they are much more dangerous than regular cars and require more upkeep, and we’ve already discussed just how much millennials hate maintaining things. Secondly, motorcycles are also more expensive than all the scooter and bicycle apps together, and for a generation that’s already strapped for cash, any measure that will allow them to save money is almost immediately taken.
They Spend More Money to Rent Apartments In Metropolitan Areas
About 88% of all millennials live in metropolitan areas. This is one of the most interesting statistics ever, when you consider that we're talking about an entire generation of people. One of the reasons that today’s millennials find themselves living paycheck to paycheck is the high rent they end up paying.
Almost no millennials choose to live in rural areas. This is caused by a variety of reasons, some political, some social and some economical. Either way, it’s clearly a problem that needs addressing, because rents just keep going up, right along with student tuition, choking these millennials financially to the point of living paycheck to paycheck.
Traditional Book Sales Are Declining Rapidly In Favor of Audiobooks
When you visit the house of almost anyone over thirty, you’re bound to find a library full of books. The older generation has even bigger libraries, because they never had electronic books. With the rise of Amazon’s Kindle and eBooks, millennials have a much stronger preference towards digital books than physical ones. Why take the effort of carrying around physical books from rental apartment to rental apartment, when you can have a library of thousands of books on your phone?
Another new trend that has developed in the last few years is purchasing Audiobooks. These have been proven to be just as effective as reading regular books (with some small exceptions). Services such as Amazon’s Audible are currently offering a free first book to get new customers through the door, which only further adds to their popularity.
Millennials Really Don’t Like Fast Food
It’s not just food brands such as McDonald’s, TGI Fridays and Applebee's that have been struggling in the past few years. Fast food sales have been on the decline for a while now, largely due to today’s internet savvy generation, which is much more aware of health concerns, as well as a general distaste for fast food among millennials.
Many fast food chains have taken swift actions to alleviate these declining sales figures. Brands such as Burger King have recently introduced vegan burgers as a way to attract younger audiences that are much more conscious, both ethically and health-wise. These fast food chains also place a lot more emphasis on providing as much information about their food as possible, which is in stark contrast to the way things used to be managed in these places.
Millennials Are Not Into Golfing
Golf is one of America's favorite pastimes. The rich and famous love to golf, your parents and grandparents love to golf, even most presidents are known for golfing a few times every week. The problem with this sport when it comes to millennials comes from two different reasons.
First, millennials simply can’t afford to golf anymore. It’s one of the more expensive pastimes you can have, and when most millennials spend their last dollars on rent and food, there’s not much if anything left for golfing. The second problem with golf is that it’s simply too slow and boring for today’s generation. Our attention spans are severely shorter than that of the previous generation.
Bye Bye Regular Milk
When our parents went to the grocery store to buy milk, they bought classic cow milk. The market was practically limited to the options of either nonfat, whole or two percent milk, with only a tiny fringe of alternative products. Nowadays, any food store you walk into will contain everything from almond milk to soy milk and just about every other type of vegan milk you can think of.
Millennials today are becoming increasingly vegan, or at least opting to avoid dairy and go for more natural forms of milk. While this transition has been linked to higher levels of estrogen, it’s clear that the trend is only going to continue in the coming years. Milk sales are already down almost 50% since the ‘70s, and meat is also seeing a massive decline in the past decade, as soy products become more and more popular.
Millennials Aren’t Into Cruises, Theme Parks, and Golf Courses
One of the most fun things you could do back in the ‘80s and ‘90s was take your friends or family (or both) on an extravagant trip to the Caribbean. Other popular fun activities included a great game of golf, or a visit to your local theme park or zoo. With today’s instant entertainment, sensational news cycles, higher work hours and lack of marriages, it’s no wonder that millennials are ditching the whole “outside” activities thing almost entirely.
While many Instagram influencers use cruises and trips as a way to appear cool and make their fans think they’re happy people, most of their followers would be hard-pressed to find any reason to leave their homes in general. Today’s generation is just much less fond of traveling and going on adventures, which might be why fantasy films are on the rise, while adventure films are practically gone.
Casual Dining Restaurants Are Devoid of Millennials
Today’s generation has very different habits when it comes to eating. They prefer to either eat a precooked meal, order something off of Uber Eats or Seamless, or go to a fancy restaurant or Starbucks and blow the last bit of money they have left after loan payments and rent. Many of the classic casual restaurants, such as TGI Friday’s and Applebee’s, are becoming strangely devoid of the presence of millennials, as they do their best to avoid these locations.
Market Studies reports that sales at casual dining restaurants have been in serious decline in the past few years. While many of these brands and establishments are doing their best to woo millennials back into their restaurants, their efforts have largely been unsuccessful. It seems that there’s something unique about the millennial mind, where the more you try to appeal to them - the less they want to participate.
They Donate a Lot Less Money to Churches
This generation is a lot more atheistic, and a lot less charitable when it comes to donations. Most of today’s social fabric has been relegated to the United States government, with public services such as Food Stamps and Medicare taking the lead instead of the community or the church.
Millennials also don’t really know their neighbors anymore, which is largely due to the fact that they move every other year or so. This causes them to be a lot more focused on spending money on themselves and is in turn a leading factor of the record loneliness rates among young people today.
Millennials Hate Beef
Since the decline of milk began, beef sales started to decline right along with it. Millennials are much less fond today of meat and dairy products, especially red meats. Many young people today are ditching meat in general, and those who don’t, prefer to stick with more “safe” meats that don’t evoke a strong moral response, such as fish.
Beef is also a bit more on the pricey side, which makes it a lot less desirable for today’s vegan and broke millennials. Even if you put moral issues aside, the fact that your average millennial owes tens of thousands of dollars for his government-backed student loan is a great reason to stay on the frugal side.
Millennials Aren’t Really Into Sports Anymore
Another institution that has begun to find itself shrinking from year to year, is the sports industry. Back in the day, families used to sit at home and watch sports games, or buy tickets and watch their favorite teams perform. Sports used to be very much related to patriotism and was a common value that was shared across the nation. Nowadays, millennials don’t really care for sports anymore, which explains the severe decline in viewership that brands such as the NFL have experienced in recent years.
This change has caused sports to also transition into a much more digital format, although it seems that the industry will never recover its former glory. Ticket sales are also down across the board, which might explain why we almost never hear about sports today except in a political context.
McDonald’s and Drive-thrus Aren’t Nearly As Popular As They Used to Be
Just a decade or two ago, almost everyone used to eat at McDonald’s and enjoy a nice, cheap meal. This same generation, that liked going to see the golden arches back in the day, are now much more prone to eating a vegan diet or ignoring fast-food entirely. McDonald's has put a lot of emphasis lately on vegetarian food and healthier options, but it seems that most of the potential market has already left for other alternatives.
While Ronald McDonald is sitting sadly in his corner, another trend which has almost disappeared are the classic drive-thrus. Back in the day, when you wanted some fast food on the go, you stopped at a McDonald's or another fast food provider and got your order without leaving the car. But they've become so obsolete that people who were born after 2010, usually don’t even know what a drive-thru looks like.
Nobody Buys Cable Anymore
Everyone knows that everything from the mainstream media to regular TV channels are going through a slow death process. What’s the point of having to be forced through countless commercial breaks and a very limited set of shows and films when you can just watch everything online? Most millennials are paying a very small monthly amount to streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and the new Disney+. Even all of these combined sometimes cost less than just one cable provider.
There’s absolutely no reason today to keep yourself stuck on a cable network that costs more, only works locally, and is harder to get disconnected from. Instead, millennials are opting for having streaming services on the go, from either their phones or computers. The benefits are endless, from not having commercial breaks to being able to download films and TV shows for later offline viewing, anytime and anywhere.
Millennials Hate Mailboxes
One of the biggest questions that still perplex millennials to this very day is, what’s the point of having a mailbox when you can just send an email? Mailboxes present a few problems for today’s millennials. First, you have to actually go outside and manually check your mailbox, which is a hassle. Second, these things take time to arrive, and millennials don’t like it when things take time. Thirdly, millennials often move places, which makes it a huge issue when they have to constantly update all of their providers.
It seems that in the next few years, physical mail is going to go as close to extinct as it can possibly get. Many companies today are forced to allow their customers to use emails and digital papers when corresponding with them. There’s a good chance that in a few decades, mailboxes will be something that you see in a museum, rather than in the front of a lawn.
Millennials Are Opting out of Wine with Corks
One of the greatest pleasures of opening a nice, traditional, aged wine is the opening of the cork. This is your opportunity to create tension, show your expertise and experience, and perhaps hit someone you dislike in the eye “by accident”. Today’s generation doesn’t have the time or the patience to open a cork, so they opt for wines with screw-off tops that don’t require any special action to open.
Like most companies, winemakers are forced to cater to today’s more comfort-seeking generations if they want to thrive. There’s no longer an appreciation for tradition, and you can even say millennials, especially generation Z, actively distance themselves from anything that is associated with tradition. It’s also a lot easier nowadays to buy wine online, so the competition is much stiffer than ever before.
Millennials Aren’t Into Clothing Brands Anymore
With the rise of online retail and today’s Instagram culture, traditional brands such as Prada, Vogue, Channel, Boss and Gucci are becoming shells of their former selves. Once these were considered the best pieces of clothing, jewelry and fragrances that money can buy. Nowadays, anyone can start their own fashion line and sell it online without even owning their own stock.
Today’s millennials and especially generation Z have absolutely no allegiance to traditional brands. Instead, they are attracted to new and exciting brands, and often make purchases due to great prices and awesome marketing rather than brand recognition. Today’s brands are also a lot more focused on the influencers that promote them rather than the brand itself.
Home Ownership Is Practically Gone
One of the happiest and life-changing moments for parents and great-grandparents was the first time they became official homeowners. This used to be considered a staple of the American dream, along with a steady job, two kids, a healthy 401(k), and a couple of cars to boot. Nowadays, young people spend those initial $120,000 on getting into college, rather than getting a mortgage and owning their own homes.
One of the most important reasons for today’s low homeownership is the rising real-estate prices all across the world. Another big consideration is today’s work mobility. It’s often the case that a millennial will switch jobs, sometimes even career paths, more than two or three times every decade. Having a home would greatly limit that ability. Finally, there’s the issue of student debt. With student debts being the highest they’ve ever been, there’s no way for a modern millennial to afford a home.
Traditional Beers and Classic Alcoholic Drinks
Classic American beer brands such as Budweiser, Coors, and Miller were once some of the most popular beverages in the United States. Nowadays, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone drinking them outside of rural areas in America. These brands suffered a severe decline in popularity, as the younger generation grew up with a much weaker set of classic American values, which is what made these beers so popular in the first place.
Back in the day, American beers made people proud and patriotic. So did American cars, American technology and just about anything American. Nowadays, people don’t really care whether or not a product represents America or is just a cheaper version that was made in China. Millennials are also opting for healthier alternatives, such as fruit shakes, teas and soy milk, with many avoiding beer entirely.
Almost Everyone Has Ditched Their Landlines
Sometime in the last decade, young people started to realize that there’s absolutely no point in having a landline. You use your mobile phone anytime you want to call someone; it’s wireless, and it’s always on you anyway. Older people have been slower to accept this practical reality, and many still use an old landline out of habit. Recent surveys have found that 66% of all millennials live in a wireless home.
A total of 41% live without landline phones (mostly because many Internet and cable companies provide these for free), and 83% of millennials sleep right next to their cellphones.In addition, most millennials today live in rented apartments, so there’s even less of an incentive to have a stationary phone when you’re moving apartments every other year or so.
They Spend a Lot More Money on Experiences
While millennials don’t spend a lot of money on “stuff”, they do like to spend money on experiences. Many young people today pay out of pocket just to go on an amazing adventure, such as skiing, skydiving, trips and more. Some important reasons that account for this change are social media and having a much more adventurous worldview than Generation X.
Most millennials have Instagram accounts to fill with pictures that show just how happy and successful they are, even if that’s not always the case. This might just account for the higher demand for special experiences, as these also contain the added benefit of counting as social currency in today’s social media culture. Our youth are also a lot more aware of the possibilities in the world, as they are more focused on adventures and self-exploration rather than finding a steady job and owning a house.
Buying Cars, Especially Gas-Based Vehicles
While one of the biggest signs of adulthood used to be getting a car, owning a vehicle today is considered both a privilege and a waste of money. Young people today are much savvier when it comes to the environment, and also have amazing apps that allow them to order taxis and rent electric scooters and bicycles at any time, from any place.
This is clearly shown in various recent statistical changes, including the fact that over the last eight years, the number of young adults who got their driver’s license between ages 18 to 25 went down almost 25%. While experts try to chalk this major shift down to young people preferring public transportation and their favorite ride-sharing apps, it’s clear that vehicles are becoming more streamlined, while car dealerships are becoming a thing of the past.
Millennials Buy Clothes For Pleasure, Not For Necessity
Clothing brands used to focus their marketing on either brand recognition or the usability and comfort of their clothing. One of the biggest changes in today’s marketing when it comes to clothing is a much bigger focus on luxury and fun, rather than usability. When millennials buy clothes today, they don’t buy them because they necessarily need clothes, they buy them as a luxury, which changes the whole game for these brands.
It’s much more likely today that you’ll find fashion companies focusing on the influencers that promote their products, and how their clothing helps you “define yourself” better. The focus today has shifted from “basic survival” to self-expression when purchasing clothes, a fact that is clearly visible if you compare a clothing ad from the ‘80s and ‘90s with one from today.
Sweet Wine Is Selling Much Better Than Dry Wine
There’s arguably no better proof that millennials are “softer” than their older generation than their different taste in wine. While older generations prefer more deep and dry types of wine, today’s generation has an overwhelming preference to sweet wines, such as champagnes.
Perhaps it’s a matter of toughness and perhaps it’s just a redefining of what sophistication means. What’s known for sure is that wine companies are adjusting their offerings to make younger people happy, as they are a large part of their customer base. These companies focus a lot more on selling sweet wine today, and tend to put the dry wines in a much less noticeable corner of their website.
Almost All Millennials Own Computers and Phones
One industry that is booming beyond all measures is the phone and computer industry. Almost 100% of all millennials own both a computer (either a desktop or a laptop) and a personal mobile phone. These are practically a necessity in today’s day and age, a fact that’s made easier by the cheap and powerful options available.
One of the coolest things about today’s technological performance, is that even a cheap Xiaomi phone or an entry level laptop, has hundreds of times more processing power than the original NASA supercomputers had back in the ‘60s. This trend is only progressing, which accounts for computer and phone sales consistently rising year after year.
Millennials Spend Most of Their Money With Companies That Have Similar Values to Them
One interesting statistic that was recently found is that millennials prefer to spend their money with companies that share their values. Most millennials have a pretty consistent set of values, these include fairness, inclusion, sensitivity, diversity, positivity, environmentalism and other related topics. This might help explain why many companies are actively pushing towards a more diverse and inclusive set of values.
Millennials are also known for being much more demanding than their older generation. They have much less patience for mistakes, tend to demand actions over words, are quick to drop and switch brands, and generally seem much more focused on themselves than on others. This is largely due to social media platforms such as Twitter, which sensationalize and motivate people and corporations to act in a grandstanding manner, rather than focus on product quality or their brand’s trust.
Millennials Don’t Iron Their Clothes
Remember a time when your mother wouldn’t let you leave the house without having a neat and ironed shirt on? Those days are practically gone today, as young people have all but abandoned the iron. If it’s too much work for millennials to clean their cereal bowl and spoon, how much motivation would they have to iron out their clothes?
Many modern clothing brands try to circumvent this issue by promoting clothing with no-iron materials. These shirts and pants tend to stay wrinkle-free, which saves our millennials the effort of having to iron their clothes. This is one activity that simply can’t be automated at the moment, it’s also very costly in terms of time investment. That’s why most young people opt to either avoid ironing their clothes entirely or simply put them in the dryer.
Millennials Aren’t Reading Newspapers Anymore
Let’s face it, newspapers are practically dead. The only people who still read the newspapers are almost always 50 years old or older, and even they often just skim through the headlines. There’s really no point in reading these anymore since you can just google something and get an aggregated list of news reports relating to what you’ve just searched.
Most of today’s mainstream news media outlets have transitioned into the online space, with many of their readers using their websites. They have also launched apps, and even appear often on YouTube, as the platform promotes mainstream media over regular creators when it comes to politics and world news.
Millennials Are Barely Getting Married
Remember back in the day when almost everyone was married by the time they were thirty? Well, nowadays if you get married earlier than 30, it’s almost as if millennials think something is wrong with you. Today’s generation is not only associated with things like laziness and sensitivity, they are also much less prone to commit to anything. They don’t have a steady job, move a lot more than their parents, and also avoid marriage like the plague.
Many experts have investigated the various reasons for the severe decline of marriages in recent decades. One of the possible culprits is Hollywood’s consistent portrayal of marriages as either unimportant or miserable, which deeply affected the culture over the years. Another reason that is often cited is the “no-fault” divorce laws which have been signed by President Ronald Reagan, effectively allowing people to get divorced for no reason other than a lack of desire to continue being married.
Movie Theaters Are Suffering Too
Going to theaters was one of America’s favorite hobbies during the ‘80s and ‘90s. This social event was popularized largely thanks to some of the amazing actors of the time, and the tendency of bored people to want entertainment. Back in the day, if you wanted to see a great film, you had to go to the theater, which is why many went as much as 3-4 times per month to see a movie.
Today’s lethargic film-streaming era is one where you can open your phone and have access to all of the world’s films in a few seconds. This means that the incentive to go out and watch new films is practically gone, especially when you can just make popcorn at home and enjoy the world’s largest library of films and TV shows, practically for free. This decline in movie-going is also related to Hollywood’s complete lack of originality in recent years, as studios rely a lot more on CGI remakes and boring sequels that don’t break the mold.
They Don’t Buy Clothes In Department Stores Anymore
Department stores used to be one of the most popular destinations for young people across America. Plenty of youngsters would go with their friends and try out clothes, accessories, shoes, perfumes, makeup, and all the new designer fashions. While it might be true that some millennials still go out to these spots, it’s usually just to try out products rather than actually buy them.
It’s much easier today to simply go online, look for the best deals on whatever clothing or jewelry you want to purchase, and get it mailed straight to your house. Many millennials prefer to skip out on department stores or go there just to see how the clothes they’re going to buy online look on them. With the emergence of virtual reality technology, soon you’ll simply be able to look at yourself in the mirror and products will be digitally shown on your body, saving you the hassle of trying them on in real life.
Mayonnaise Is Almost Extinct At This Point
Mayonnaise has never been a popular dietary option and was always known as the thing that you eat when you’ve run out of ketchup. Over the last few decades, mayonnaise has quickly gone out of style, especially among conservative millennials. Sales of mayo have been seriously dropping over the last few years. With today’s health-conscious and mostly vegan population, it’s not a surprise.
Part of the reason why millennials are giving up on mayonnaise is that it’s simply not that healthy. Mayo is mostly made of egg yolks, oil, lemon juice, and vinegar. Besides contributing to clogged arteries and chest pains, there are not many health benefits to be found in the food. Many of today’s young people would much prefer to eat their food with an avocado, or a soy-based mayo alternative.
Gyms Are Almost Completely Devoid of Millennials
While millennials today are much more aware of health and environmental issues, they almost never go to the gym. This generation is very different than previous ones, in the sense that it’s by far the most sedentary, but also doesn’t work out at all. Traditional gym memberships are on a serious decline. It’s not that millennials aren’t working out, in fact, on average, they exercise more than their parents. However, they choose to do this outside of a gym.
Young people today are much more into newer forms of exercise. They focus a lot more on fun activities such as yoga, pilates, CrossFit, kickboxing and others. There are countless apps nowadays that help promote healthy living, making it easier than ever to stay in shape. Today’s generation is also a lot more obsessed about health, and is largely much more inclined to drink healthy shakes, eat vegan foods and avoid processed meats.
They Buy a Lot More Concert Tickets Than Their Parents
While millennials aren’t buying tickets to sports games anymore, they are buying tickets to musical performances in droves. Popular stars such as Beyonce are experiencing some of their biggest concerts ever, with as many as 50 concerts being sold out just days after their tour is launched. The main reason for these comes from two important factors, the first being today’s much larger reach for influencers, and the second being the ease of purchasing tickets online.
Back in the day, you were not always aware of your favorite music star and their upcoming tour. You were also reminded a lot less often about them, since social media didn’t exist back then. Nowadays, people follow their favorite musical stars on their YouTube channel, and watch their Instagram as they share their life with fans all across the world. It’s also a lot easier today to purchase tickets. You no longer need to call a broker, all you have to do is go to the artist’s site and order them, which also accounts for today’s lower ticket prices.
Millennials Spend Much More Money on Coffee
The most incredible irony about millennials is that while they spend their last dollar on student loans and rent, they’ll still find a way to pay for an overpriced latte. Companies like Starbucks are making a killing among younger people, mostly “hipsters”, and are able to tap directly into their values, making them set all sensibilities aside and purchase coffee from there rather than making one at home, practically for free.
Various reports have found that millennials are highly likely to pay more than $4 for an average cup of coffee, which just goes to show that they tend to have some very contradictory decision-making processes. If you happen to visit a Starbucks in your area, you’ll likely find that it’s full of millennials who are studying, writing blog posts, or hanging out with their friends and uploading filtered pictures of their new frappuccinos.
They Love Personalized Ads and Valuable Content
One massive difference in purchasing habits between millennials and previous generations is that millennials love personalized ads. When talking to older people, you’ll often hear them complain about ads and people intruding on their privacy. Today’s generation is a lot less concerned about privacy, this is in spite of the fact that no generation has ever faced such clear violations of basic decency and privacy.
Millennials don’t mind seeing ads at all, as long as they are personalized. This generation loves to be pitched with products and solutions, but it does matter to them a great deal that the marketing is directly aimed at them and their needs, rather than just generally aimed at a large audience.
Millennial consumers have over $1 trillion of the USA's $3.6 trillion in consumer debt, and most of that debt is a result of the alarming amount of student loans that they still owe.
It's quite sad actually, but debt payments take up a big portion of this generation’s monthly expenses as interest costs stack up, making debt payments even harder.
More than half of wage-earning millennials still have no savings set up for their retirement. The fact that millennials earn less than baby boomers did at the same age, they will have a much more difficult time reaching their future financial goals.
Unfortunately, the biggest single practice with millennials is that their savings are trumped by their financial demands.
For one thing, more than a quarter of millennials have a financial setup in place, which is more than previous generations did while they started working.
Millennials are said to be more money0savy and create their savings plan with the help of an advisor. Millennials are also more likely to watch over and monitor their finances and are largely more knowledgeable about fees.
Comments about participation trophies and “snowflakes” are commonplace when it comes to discussions about millennials. They may have been stereotyped as lazy and entitled, this generation is the butt of many pop culture jokes.
But those stereotypes are being constantly shattered everywhere. Millennials want to be productive and this generation has introduced many productivity apps like Slack, Zoom, and Workplace. Millennials are much more likely to use these apps and will even pay a premium price for them.
Statistics about millennial consumers show that half of the successful customer service encounters factor into brand loyalty. Millennials also look to their favorite online influencers, to see what they recommend.
We all know that now, when social media rules everything, one Tweet can destroy a brand, so making positive experiences incredibly important.
Generally speaking, millennials are responsive to advertising if it’s relevant, but about half of the millennial population use ad-blockers on their computers. Some are still are responsive to some marketing ads.
Many millennials would rather see their advertisements in-feed, provided that they do not get in the way of their overall online shopping experience.
While capitalism remains prevalent around the world, Millennials are now looking to owning fewer material possessions.
As such, there is a rise in minimalism, with the modern economy’s instability, many Millennials are uncertain about their financial future, which is pushing them to spend less and declutter their living conditions.
More Interest in Businesses
Millennials grew up during a recession, which means they have first-hand experience of unemployment and underemployment. This has led to changes in their financial priorities, and they are now more focused on establishing a more stable future.
While many are still employed in the workforce, there is a growing entrepreneurial spirit among Millennials. Over 50% have expressed that they want to start their own businesses.
Over 70% of households in the US have no children under age 18. The older generations had their children in their 20’s, but Millennials tend to have kids later in life.
These young individuals often prioritize career and financial freedom before having children, which accounts for the delay. The combination of an unstable economy, rising debts, and other global issues make Millennials rethink raising kids right away.
Wellness and Health
Young adults are also dealing with more health concerns than older generations. Consequently, taking interest in wellness and is more prevalent in this group. They are thought to be the dominant driving force that pushed the wellness market into the mainstream.
But, this doesn't mean that they are healthier, as they still are suffering from an array of mental issues that need to be addressed.
Tapping into their creative side, Do-It-Yourself projects have been the go-to for millennials. Millennials spend nearly double on home improvement projects compared to other generations. Saving money and keeping busy have played a factor in deciding to take on projects themselves vs. hiring a professional.
Most millennials state that they are more interested in trying DIY projects rather than hiring a professional. Having access to pretty much all the information you need online makes DIY projects less intimidating.
Just like other items on our list, millennials also want more out of their experiences when traveling; whether it's a road trip or international flight, millennials want a powerful journey that will affect them on a profound level.
This is where retreats come in, retreats can range from baking workshops in Italy to Yoga retreats in Bali. Retreats are centered around learning something and connecting with like-minded individuals while taking a break from everyday routine.
Sweatpant-friendly activities are a popular pastime with millennials, with video and mobile games being their obvious go-to.
Millennials grew up with gaming, and find it a convenient way to connect with others while having fun.
There’s no doubt that podcasting is more popular now than ever. Everyone has a favorite podcast, be it self-improvement or news-related.
In terms of millennials, they are not just a part of this trend but are paving the way for its success. While many people listen to podcasts, millennials are way more inclined to pay for a premium podcast.
Millennials are not convinced that western medicine has their best interests in mind. According to a study done in the US, millennials are more eager to try out natural or alternative health treatments instead of traditional medicine.
On the younger side, millennials are almost 40% more likely to seek out alternative medicine, and more than half of millennials take dietary supplements.
Millennials are eager to find creative outlets for self-expression So much about crafting aligns with the zeitgeist of millennials. It is a way to express creative drives, an activity to bond with family and friends, and productive use of time, money, and resources.
Repurposing, reusing, and upcycling old stuff into new, personalize treasures are a powerful drive among millennials.
Thanks to food delivery apps like Seamless, Grubhub, and Uber Eats, ordering fast-food is easy as pie, and millennials are more than willing to try new cuisines.
Millennials typically spent half of their food budget on delivery, more than all other groups.
Millennials are earning a living in different ways than previous generations. Seeing as jobs aren’t as stable nowadays as they used to be. With no stable employment, millennials have been forced to rely on the “gig economy” and hopefully make a living that way.
They are making money through short-term contracts and freelance work, which means focusing more on building a skill set that's easily transferable to different environments.
Something Different and Unique
Millennial shoppers will admit that they will pay for more items that are different and offer a unique experience. For example, more than half of millennials would buy a superfood latte that costs more than $4 than a regular cup of coffee, compared to just 29% of baby boomers.
Additionally, 79% of millennials said they would spend more money to dine out at unique restaurants that offer something different than the traditional eatery.
They Do Their Research
Millennial shopping patterns have shown an inclination to research anything online before making a purchase. In fact, 80 percent of millennials read reviews before buying things.
Recommendations from their friends also persuade millennials; over 80% sreported that word-of-mouth recommendations are key when making any purchase.
Social Responsibility Matters
Millennials in the U.S. have around $300 billion in buying power — 85% of the total buying power of U.S. millennials — and social responsibility matters to them.
This means that values and morals matter so much to them that they are likely to buy products and even pay more for a product if that specific brand aligns with their values. For example, Millennials aren't even buying bottled water due to the harmful effects of plastic.
Social Media's Influence
Millennials both spend a good chunk of the day on social media, and when it comes to purchasing decisions, they are much more likely to be swayed by what they see online.
Truth be told, most of millennials purchases are from social media—from Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube. Millennials also spend a lot of their time on Facebook and even discover new brands and products there.
Sustainably Sourced Food
Millennials are more mindful than following what is popular; as a group, they want to know where their food comes from and how its made. A big portion of the generation wants to find out all the details behind their food.
This has resulted in mindfully purchasing food products. They also look for new flavors and trends, which often lead to popular foods like the cronut, plant-based proteins, kale, and chia seeds.
Millennials seem to value their time and are willing to pay extra for slight conveniences that will make their lives that little bit easier. Convenience is a huge reason millennials spend money, especially seeing that there is a app for almost everything.
From meal kits to rideshares to delivered groceries, this doesn't mean that older generations won't pay for these, but millennials do prioritize convenience more.