It seems like daily there is a new article about something Millennials are ruining. Millennials’ preferences are killing legacy businesses and hurting numerous industries. The youngest generation emerging and challenging convention is not new, but the pace of the change and threat it creates is frustrating the most experienced CEO and business leader. There’s a lot of factors that go into what industries and companies that Millennials prefer. This new generation has less financial stability than other generations, they make major life commitments at an older age (marriage, kids, buying their first home, etc), and claim to be very sensitive to the social impact of the businesses they support. Characteristics such as how environmentally responsible a product was manufactured, or how it affects one’s health are purchasing influences that the younger generation takes into consideration.
Casual Dining Restaurants
Casual dining chains like TGI Fridays, Ruby Tuesday, and Applebee’s are facing serious sales challenges with Millennials. Younger generations prefer fast casual, food from groceries (“groceraunts”), as well as delivery. Even cooking at home has taken off with the generation that learned how to cook on YouTube. The rise of fast casual chains like Panera Bread and Chipotle—before it’s food scares—shows that Millennials are willing to spend money to eat, they just want it on their terms and at a better price.
Traditional Breakfast Foods
There was much news hype about Millennials choosing not to buy and eat cereal because of the work required. While this was great for headlines it also speaks to a larger story about Millennial putting pressure on traditional breakfast foods. This not only speaks to cereals but also related categories such as traditional yogurt. Millennials are instead opting for breakfasts on the go that require little preparation and are seen as more filling, healthier, or more convenient.
Professional football and golf are showing signs of fatigue with Millennials. Pro football’s woes could be tied to TV viewing in general, lack of stars connecting with Millennials, or simply a generation that likes to have four screens open at once. However, the decline in football viewership with Millennials may be noticeable last season, but it is still one of the most viewed outlets by Millennials. The key will be how viewership with Millennials looks in this new season. Will Millennials watch or will they skip the football games in favor of the highlights? Golf, on the other hand, has a tough time with Millennials for years. The sport is often expensive to play, take hours outside and has all kinds of rules for a generation that is used to not having to abide by them. At the same time, the heroes of professional golf do not seem to be connecting with Millennials right now. The one bright spot: TopGolf. The company that has proved golf can be fun, interactive, and Millennials are willing to pay—as long as there is no course, constant food and beverage service, and you only commit for one hour.
Since millennials are pushing back major milestones and are financially stressed, things like buying diamond engagement rings and first homes are lagging. The big question is whether this is a trend or a short-term cycle. The truth will be visible over the next three to five years as the average age for Millennials exceeds the age of 30.
Stay tuned to see if Millennials really do “kill” these businesses and upend entire industries, or if the industries and business respond to bounce back stronger, more relevant, and higher growth than in the past. We’ll be watching—right between pro football highlights.
At The Center for Generational Kinetics, we turn Millennial and Gen Z trends into fuel for your sales, marketing, employment, and growth.
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