It seems as though millennials are in the news every other day for doing something wrong.
They have a reputation for being difficult, entitled and spoiled but are they really changing the culture more than any other generation before them?
“Every generation engages in a process of looking at the world around them, seeing what’s there that they want to continue and where they want to refocus,” says culinary historian Julia Skinner.
Along with a new generation come new habits and preferences; millennials have wildly different eating habits to their parents; they are not as interested in getting married and have been priced out of the housing market.
It’s these changes that are seeing once loved and valued products and industries become irrelevant and die out.
But, if industries are in decline, it’s because they’ve failed to adapt to provide what millennials are looking for. So, here are the things that haven’t quite lived up to millennial’s expectations.
The marriage rate has been slowly declining over the decades, even as our population grows.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics found the national marriage rate – the number of marriages per 1000 residents – fell to 4.5 in 2019. At the start of this century, it was six, while its all-time high of almost 12 was recorded in the wake of World War II.
The average age of marriage has been pushed back by about five years over the past three decades too, the average female age is now 28.3 and 29.9 for males.
Along with this, couples are skipping the traditional banquet halls and reception rooms in favour of more unique venues such as barns, farms and gardens.
Since the introduction of ‘no fault divorce’ in 1976, Australia’s crude divorce rate (the number of divorces per 1000 Australian residents) has fallen steadily from highs of 4.5, according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies.
In 2017, it stood at 2.0, which was a slight rise from 2016, when the crude divorce rate was 1.9. This was its lowest level since 1976. The divorce rate was highest for those aged 25-29. After this, divorce rates dropped slightly and those aged 55 and above were least likely to divorce.
It seems millennials getting married later in life means it’s less likely to end in divorce.
Free to air TV
Millennials aren’t the only generation cutting the cable television cord, but it’s no surprise that they’re sometimes blamed for harming the industry.
Commercial televisions audiences have fallen significantly over time and that cuts the prices advertisers are prepared to pay for access to eyeballs.
In December 2019, Channel Seven saw its TV advertising revenue fall 4 per cent, with free-to-air TV revenues falling 7 per cent and the ad market overall losing 8.5 per cent.
Why bother with free-to-air TV when you can watch whatever you want, whenever you want, without ads?
Going to the bank
Millennials prefer to do things online without having to stand in a queue and interact with a human being who probably doesn’t want to be there any more than the customer, what more can I say?
Big box toy stores
The lower birth rate is creating issues for industries aimed at babies and children.
“Most of our end customers are newborns and children and, as a result, our revenues are dependent on the birth rates in countries where we operate,” Toys R Us wrote in its 2017 annual filing, prior to filing for bankruptcy. “In recent years, many countries’ birth rates have dropped or stagnated as their population ages, and education and income levels increase.”
Millennials and gen Z make up 80 per cent of health club members – in line with the idea that these generations prioritise fitness more than their predecessors.
Millennials spend an average of $40 per month on fitness, compared to $25 for gen Xers and $15 for baby boomers. But instead of traditional gym memberships, millennials’ tastes have driven a new trend toward fitness classes. They’re willing to pay a premium for an interesting fitness experience that they want.
Today’s hotel chains seem to be struggling to keep up with millennials who are trending towards options like Airbnb where you can have an entire apartment to yourself.
Formal dress codes
People rarely get formally dressed for dinner anymore and formal attire has been in decline at work since women entered the workforce in the 1920s. Although some industries still require a suit, most have got rid of the controlling dress codes of the past to allow for more personality and creativity to show through.
According to one survey, 40 per cent of millennials look to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as their business role model. If he made his billions while wearing a daily uniform of a grey T-shirt and jeans, why can’t anyone?
Casual dining restaurants
Even though millennials are sticking to casual dress for dinner, they certainly aren’t sticking to casual dining chains.
Australians are eating healthier and moving towards quality over quantity, resulting in a decline in the popularity of casual chains such as Hog’s Breath Cafe, Michel’s Patisserie and Pizza Hut.
There are so many more options available now, many of them being faster, healthier and more adventurous than the casual dining restaurants. The possibility of having dinner delivered straight to your door is a big draw too.
Sites like TripAdvisor allow you to research as much as you want about prospective hotels and trips. If you’ve got enough time and dedication, you can know the hotel or resort inside out before you’ve even left the house.
This has luckily put an end to the outdated brochures specially designed to show all of the good and none of the bad.
What used to be watched by the entire family before or after dinner, the importance of 6pm news has been lost with the advancement of technology. Now, handheld devices allow people to access the news 24/7.
Social media, podcasts and other ways millennials consume information has also played a role in the death of the evening news program.
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