Millennials: A Brand-New Breed of Consumer
Posted on by Sean Williamson
Millennials, as the group of people born between 1983 and 1999 have become known, are living in a world that is vastly different from anything that has come before. Not only is technology evolving at its fastest rate ever, but the world is also recovering from major economic crises and coping with serious environmental and other global concerns.
Modern living is not as easy as it used to be, and one of the ways in which millennials are handling this is by turning their backs on a lot of the ideas and norms of the previous generation. The group has been criticised as self-entitled and lazy, but is that true of the entire demographic? Or is it simply that, as society has always done, our tastes and ideas are changing?
A Shift in Priorities
A good example of how industries need to adapt to the ways of millennials in order to succeed is how well the mobile market is doing. Mobile casinos, sportsbooks, Bingo sites and Poker rooms have all found a comfortable place in the hearts of millennial players, and they continue to flourish. Mobile tech is everywhere and there’s an app for just about everything.
Some enterprises however have simply not managed to move with the times; casual chain restaurants such as Applebee’s and Hooters are a case in point. Applebee’s is a particularly good example of how it is not always possible to keep up with the shift in young peoples’ attitudes. There was an attempt to rebrand the eateries as hip bar and grill venues that would appeal to millennials, but this failed and the chain will be closing more than 130 restaurants before the end of 2017. Buffalo Wild Wings, Ruby Tuesday and other franchises are going the same way, as millennials choose healthy, local and individual dining experiences. The authenticity they crave is well illustrated by the fact that beer sales in general are down, but craft beer and microbreweries are booming.
Aside from wanting to eat locally for more environmental stability, millennials also want to eat in places where the lighting and décor create pleasing backdrops for pictures for Instagram. Convenience is a factor too; eating at home is simply quicker and easier. This has led to a big upsurge in the demand for food delivery services among millennials, and this extends to online shopping of all kinds. If you’re under 34, chances are you’re buying books, clothes and nearly everything else from online marketplaces such as Etsy or Amazon.
Local eating habits are also not the only way that millennials are focusing on reducing their environmental impact. Napkins, seen as less versatile and useful than paper towels, appear to be on their way out with just 56% of shoppers purchasing them within the last 6 months, according to a survey conducted by Mintel.
The Impact of the Economic Recession
As the prices of homes and college education continue to rise, and with the scars of financial instability still fresh in their minds, millennials live in real fear of serious amounts of debt. They work hard to avoid this, meaning sales of starter homes; diamonds and other luxury items are down.
In the end, millennials’ spending habits are probably down to a mix of increased awareness of social and environmental responsibilities, the desire to become or remain debt-free and a new prioritisation of experiences over possessions as the transitory nature of life becomes more obvious to everyone. The indefinable allure of the cool factor is, of course, always present too and makes most generations focus on different things than the one that came before.
Put that together with the cynicism for today’s world, and a desire to use small pleasures to distract them from the things they can’t buy, and the millennial trope of using the funds saved for buying a home to have avocado toast for brunch starts to make sense.