Here are all the things millennials have been accused of killing — from wine corks to golf
They have been accused of spoiling movies, focus groups and even churchgoing
Millennials can’t get a break.
When they aren’t spending all of their retirement funds on avocado toast (or eating out in restaurants, to be more exact), they’re getting rid off beloved American staples like movies by binge-watching shows online, putting the death knell in sitcoms, and even single-handedly bringing about the end of churchgoing.
Some of these trends may be overstated, but millennials do have different tastes and priorities than past generations, a new study from travel site Contiki found. They prioritize activities over physical purchases, with 71% of 18- to 35-year-olds citing experiences as the most important thing in their lives. Generation Z, those born between 1995 and 2012, takes it even further, with 97% saying experiences are the most important.
Millennials, those born between 1977 and 1994, are also more socially and politically aware: 61% believe in equality and 75% feel the economic and political state of the world will have a big impact on their generation. We also are living under the weight of massive student loan debt and a less-than-ideal job market.
These shifting values have led to the death of more than a handful of now-outdated norms. With the help of a recent Twitter roundup on the topic, here are some of the things the generation has been accused of ruining in recent years. And, no, MarketWatch isn’t exactly innocent when it comes to blaming millennials for some of these trends.
1. The 9 to 5 work week
Millennials are demanding more flexibility in their jobs, and now nearly 40% of U.S. workers can work from home at least one day a week, according to a 2016 study. They also don’t unplug at 5 p.m., with 68% saying they check work emails from home. The extension of our work lives into the home may concern some who are more tied to the traditional 40-hour workweek, but studies show employees in a flexible workplace can be more productive and happier with their careers.
2. Focus groups
Americans in their 20s and 30s are too cynical to reveal their hopes, dreams and buying habits to advertisers directly, one marketing officer told digital marketing site Digiday. This means more companies have to abandon traditional marketing strategies like focus groups and instead rely on social media sourcing and native advertising. This can also be to the detriment of millennials, as companies amass a wealth of personal data on them.
3. Dinner dates
With the ceaseless mix of Tinder swipes and OkCupid matches they are subjected to, millennials have essentially given up on the dinner date. Experts say they are dating more often and more casually, making the idea of sitting across from someone at a pricey dinner for a potentially long amount of time less desirable. “Online dating creates an enormous number of first dates in a short period of time,” said relationship and etiquette expert April Masini.
Still, some millennials don’t think they are missing out on anything: “Sure, getting asked to dinner might seem more exciting, but if you really like the person, isn’t it just as good to hang out and watch Netflix? Does it matter what you’re doing if you enjoy one another’s company?” wrote college student Amanda Spina at the Odyssey.
Maybe millennials weren’t exactly accused of ruining cruises, but they haven’t been too supportive of the industry either. For some time, cruising had been designated as a vacation option for an older crowd, taking an additional hit after a string of high-profile gaffes including on-sea disasters and ship-wide illnesses. After being accused of nearly getting rid of the cruise, millennials are showing signs of bringing it back to life, after the industry took a number of measures to attract them.
Millennials are giving up the paper napkin, with 86% saying they are opting instead to use a paper towel as a napkin at the dinner table according to a 2016 study from market research company Mintel. The good news: Experts say the paper towel’s ability to clean up messes make it a more versatile and economical choice, especially as fewer millennials eat dinner at home.
Last year, The Wall Street Journal informed us millennials were ruining the sport of running. Despite being the largest living generation and traditionally the largest share of runners, 18-to-34-year-olds made up only 33% runners in 2015 and 35% the year earlier, according to a study from industry-funded research group Running USA. This decline comes despite a peak in 2013, when the number of runners reached an all-time high of 19 million. Instead of continuing its increase as expected, the numbers plunged. Thanks a lot, millennials.
Another sport millennials have been blamed for doing away with is golf. They are playing fewer rounds and even watching it on TV less frequently, the Guardian reported in 2016. In fact, it is estimated that if such apathy continues, golf as we know it could disappear in 52 years.
8. Soap bars
Young people are over the soap bar — not because they are a dirty generation, but because they prefer liquid soap, a study from consumer-research firm Mintel found. Millennials found soap bars gross, with 60% saying they believe it is covered in germs after use.
9 . Sex
Do we live in a more permissive society? Not where teenagers and people in their early 20s are concerned. It seems that members of the younger millennial cohort are apparently over sex as well. Despite being pegged as the “hookup generation,” a 2016 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found 15% of millennials had not had sex since they turned 18. The sexual revolution is passé. People born in the 1970s reported an abstinence rate of 11.5% between the ages of 18 and 24 and 6.3% for those born in the late 60s.
Millennials aren’t just having less sex, they’re also dating less frequently and more casually. Only 14% of people ages 18 to 29 were living with their partner in 2014, and few millennials use “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” to describe dating partners, according to a report from Mic. A 2014 study also found that college students today are significantly less likely to have a regular sexual partner.
Millennials are marrying less often and later in life. With more debt to overcome, millennials are frequently living at home with their parents or with roommates according to analyses from real estate listing site Trulia. They’re also pushing off marriage until they are financially stable, which could be years for many of them. Don’t blame them, however. Blame the $1.3 trillion in student debt that college graduates in America are currently shouldering.
12. Face-to-face interaction
Millennials have replaced face-to-face communication with the smartphone, some studies say. Nearly 4 in 10 millennials interact more with their phones than they do with parents, friends, children, significant others or co-workers, a 2016 Bank of America study found.
Millennials are neglecting to take their allotted vacation time, with 43% qualifying as “work martyrs” — a category of people who feel guilty about taking time off and overworking themselves. This compares with just 29% of all workers, a study by ‘Project: Time Off’, which promotes vacation time for America’s workers and obviously has a vested interest in the subject. Many millennials also don’t have the funds to go for vacation, unless they take out additional debt.
Perhaps the most prominent norm millennials are accused of undermining: Homeownership. If they’re unable to afford vacations, they certainly can’t put a down payment on a house in most places. Under crippling student loan debt, many millennials are opting instead to move back in with parents or have a roommate long into their 30s. Given stagnant wages and rising house prices, however, who can blame them?
15. Wine corks
Millennials love wine but they don’t love uncorking it. That’s why the generation, which consumes nearly half of all wine in the U.S., is opting for cans of wine and bottles with twist-off caps, according to market measurement organization Nielsen.
The diamond industry has struggled to woo millennials to the luxury item, with companies like De Beers slashing prices by 9% to reach out to the generation, which prefers to spend money on experiences like travel rather than expensive goods, the Daily Beast reported. “Young consumers increasingly shun the taint of conflict and exploitation, and middlemen have been hit as banks balk at gemstones’ untraceability,” according to The Economist.
17. Department stores
As online shopping grows in popularity and millennial shopping habits shift, stores like Macy’s M and J.C. Penney JCP have had to close hundreds of stores. Studies show millennials are instead boosting traffic to outlet malls, preferring to shop for specific brands at stores devoted to them rather than picking up a piece of apparel here and there at department stores.