Millennials: Killing or innovating industries?

Millennials killed chain restaurants. Millennials killed love. Millennials killed the diamond industry. The lists go on and on. News articles and exposes are constantly telling stories about how millennials are killing this industry or that. According to the U.S. census, millennials have become the largest generation, surpassing baby boomers with over 83 million members. Certainly, millennials have the numbers to kill an industry, but is it fair to blame them for failing industries?

Millennials are the most diverse, educated, and technologically advanced generation of all time. They are also environmentally conscious, socially aware, and cynical towards capitalism. Millennials have delayed marriage and moving out of their parents’ house. Additionally, millennials have had a hard time finding work after college.

Millennials have college debt 1000 percent larger than baby boomers, who could go to college while working a job waiting tables. Minimum wage has been stagnant since the early ‘70’s, and it has led to the hardships of millennials. To blame millennials for industries failing, despite having high debt and unemployment and low wages is misguided.

The most common industry cited as failing because of millennials is the restaurant industry. Specifically, chain dining restaurants and fast food have seen losses for years for the first time ever. What could explain this? Well, many millennials are working at these places and barely make enough for rent or food for themselves, let alone to eat out. Millennials are also much more health conscious than previous generations.

Similarly, so called “breastaurants,” such as Hooters and Twin Peaks failure has been blamed on millennials. Millennials have abandoned many traditional gender roles and stereotypes, and these places are looked at as degrading and misogynistic. Additionally, the website ‘Pornhub’ published a study stating that 18 to 24 year olds are 19 percent less likely to search for breasts than previous generations, which seems noteworthy for some reason.

Millennials are regularly cited as killing the diamond industry and homeownership. The reason for these are much more easily explained. Millennials have higher college debt than previous generations, less job prospects, and less disposable income. Additionally, home prices have skyrocketed, especially since the crash of the housing market in 2008. How can you buy a diamond or a home when you can barely afford rent on a two-bedroom apartment?

As the most technologically advanced generation, millennials are criticized for killing movie theaters and cable tv. Meanwhile, subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, and subscription cable websites have seen giant growth, thanks to millennials. These are much more convenient and cheaper than cable. The price of going to the movies has also continued to grow, especially if factoring in the price of food and drinks. It has also become increasingly easy to find movies in theaters online for free from various websites.

Millennials are blamed for killing relationships, marriage, and sex. This is non-sensical.

Millennials are called the “hook-up generation”, but are having less sex than previous generations. Millennials are delaying marriage because they are focusing on getting an education and finding a job. Relationships can also be expensive and cliché. Millennials have much more casual relationships, which may or may not include sex. Finally, millennials are using social media more often and getting most social interaction online.

Finally, millennials are blamed for killing the oil industry and capitalism as we know it. This one has an easy explanation. Oil is outdated and damages the environment. Millennials are also cynical towards the oil industry for its influence in politics and climate denying. Millennials are much more environmentally conscious than other generations. Millennials are angry about college debt, stagnant or decreasing wages, and the growing wages for the one percent. For the first time in the U.S., a generation favors socialism over capitalism. This was seen in 2016 with the popularity of Bernie Sanders among Millennials.

Millennials seem to be the scapegoat for older generations and the failure of businesses. Most of these are unfair as millennials have the least monetary influence, despite being the largest generation. Some of these are deserved. If businesses want to appeal to millennials, they should become more convenient, technologically advanced, and cheap.

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