Millennials vs. Businesses: Whose Fault Is It?

From getting rid of chain restaurants to the single sheet between the duvet cover and bed sheet, millennials are the suspects accused in a very large genocide of industries, businesses, and products.

Full disclosure: Millennials are used to this kind of ridicule.

Millennials are the generation of binge-watching and eating, the participation trophy generation, being overly-sensitive, and affectionately known as snowflakes.

But should millennials be the ones to blame with the deterioration of certain industries?

Well, we first have to look at many components that make up this argument, one of which is the massive amount of debt that millennials are drowning in. Baby boomers graduated with little to no debt because tuition was cheaper for public universities back in the day. Not only that, but millennials are also making less and have less income than previous generations. This crippling debt was the catalyst for fewer people getting married, or investing, and overall fewer people wanting to move forward until they pay off their debt. With the heavy burden of student loans and financial debt, millennials look to conveniency, speed, and lower prices for their purchases. If a company has a combination of all of those things, then the more popular it becomes among millennials.  

Other questions we should be asking ourselves: Which industries are dying? Why did they die? Is technology increasing and advancing at a rapid pace? There are so many questions to analyze with this topic, so let’s start with what industries have seen declines in this generation.

Industries that Millennials Have “Killed” #1: Chain Restaurants

As previously mentioned, chain restaurants, such as Applebees, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Red Robin, have fallen victim to the millennial generation. According to Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith, “Millennial consumers are more attracted than their elders to cooking at home, ordering delivery from restaurants, and eating quickly, in fast-casual or quick-serve restaurants.”

And Sally isn’t wrong. Ordering delivery, or through apps like Uber Eats and GrubHub, has grown in popularity. However, restaurants could get involved by being one of the many options on these apps  and delivering their food to people all over. The millennial generation is keen on speed, so it’s crazy to think that they have to travel somewhere, sit down, and wait for food to be served to them.  

Industries that Millennials Have “Killed” #2: Department and Home Improvement Stores

Another industry millennials are utterly destroying are department clothing stores, like Macy’s, and home improvement stores, like Home Depot. Millennials are decreasingly getting married, which leads to less home owning, which inevitably leads to less home improvement shopping. As for department stores, online shopping is an option for countless stores. In fact, some stores are purely online now, they don’t even have a physical store anywhere in the world. Millennials have shifted more toward online shopping as a whole. Millennials do not want to leave the comfort of their own homes, so why not get everything shipped to you? Millennials are drawn to convenience factors which is one crucial reason as to why Amazon got so popular.

Industries that Millennials Have “Killed” #3: Movie Theaters

Do you remember the last time you went to a movie theater? If yes, then congratulations –  you are not considered a killer of this industry! (I would also like to point out that my brothers and I have a moviegoing tradition so we are in fact not suspects in this industry kill.)

With sources like Netflix, HBO, and Hulu, millennials can simply stream their favorite shows and movies right at home with a low monthly cost. The best part is that with so many people with different streaming accounts, people end up sharing their usernames and passwords giving them access to a fully library of entertainment at their fingertips. People are actually watching everything they want for free, even though their best friend or significant other has the burden of paying for it. The average cost of a movie ticket increased almost 10 percent between 2015 and 2017, and you have to take the time to actually get to the movies – and let’s not even talk about snacks. It’s just too exhausting for millennials. Why leave the comfort of your home to pay an unreasonable amount for a movie and a $12 large popcorn?

So, Are Millennials Actually Murdering Anything?

Based on the information offered above, it may seem like millennials are out on a hunt to kill good, quality industries. But millennials are not to blame. In fact, millennials should be “praised, not put at fault” for their involvement in this revolutionary change in industries, something a survey user commented when asked if millennials were killing industries.

That’s right, I took it upon myself to create a survey about this topic. The people who took this survey concluded that millennials are not killing industries with a staggering 75 percent agreeing with this statement, 14.29 percent not agreeing, and 10.71 percent voicing that they had a different opinion.

It is key to note that about 92.86 percent of the participants were between the age of 18-30, where ages 22-35 are considered the millennial generation. I thought it would be beneficial to also get the opinion of people who are slightly younger so it’s not a complete bias within the millennial generation. Only a slim 7.14 percent were between the ages of 30-50, which helped to also get opinions from individuals slightly older

In summary, the survey indicates millennials are not killing industries, nor were we ever. As time goes by, change is inevitable, even for big businesses and industries. These industries are seeing a fall in their sales because they are no longer innovative enough to keep up with this generation.

Millennials are the generation known for drowning in debt, procrastinating, and not having enough time to get certain tasks done, regardless of how many energy drinks they consume. Industries have realized this and some have adapted to this new lifestyle. Some industries have incorporated smartphones and the Internet into their services, like ordering food or clothes online, because that’s what this generation relies on. They are living a lifestyle that some industries cannot keep up with. It’s no one’s fault in the process of industries dying, it’s just that millennials are living their lives differently from generations of the past and some companies are struggling to catch up with the times.   

It’s not that millennials are “killing” industries, but that some industries are becoming antiquated due to technological advances. This was summed up in the response received from the recent non-scientific survey we conducted. One of the respondents said, ““Technology is advancing at such a rapid rate that it is changing industry practices at a rate that is hard to keep up with for businesses. It’s not necessarily that ‘millennials’ are killing things, but the technologies of this generation are moving things more quickly than they ever have before.”

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