What We Really Think: 8 Products Millennials “Won’t” Buy in the Future

Yahoo! Finance recently re-posted an article by 24/7 Wall St. entitled “Eight Products the Facebook Generation Will Not Buy“. As a member of the Facebook generation, I decided to weigh in on which of these products I think millennials will phase out and which ones will stick around.

1) Email

Their argument: Mark Zuckerberg had it right when he said email is “too formal”. Email use is falling in 12-17 year olds while rising in those in the 55-64 and 65+ demographics.

My take: Email can feel too formal for recreational use. With Facebook messaging and free Google email accounts, I don’t see millennials shelling out cash for personal email accounts. Professionally, however, email is absolutely necessary. All the offices I’ve worked at run on Microsoft Inbox or similar services. You won’t find most 12-17 year olds in cubicles now, but they will be eventually, and they’ll need email.

2) Beer

Their argument: Traditional beers like Budweiser that usually rely on twentysomething men are struggling while lite brands are thriving. Budweiser estimates that four out of ten young people today have never tried regular beer, where that number was only one in ten in 1988.

My take: Millennials’ drinking habits are definitely leaning away traditional big brand beers. That can include other alcohols–I’ve written about how this generation is a huge opportunity for the wine industry. But we do like beer  and I don’t think that will change. In fact, I’ve reported on how we’re drinking more craft beer than ever. Brands may come and go, but beer is here to stay.

3) Newspapers

Their argument: As the name implies, the Facebook generation is all about the internet and social media, less about print. The statistics of young print readers are abysmally low.

My take: Yep, print is on the way out. And that’s coming from an English major and book lover! The silver lining? The internet lets us consume more content than ever.

4) Cars

Their argument: Less than half the people 19 or younger in 2008 had a license according to the Federal Highway Administration. Automobile sales have also had to advertise harder to youth to make up for lower sales.

My take: In a city, yes. With rising trends of environmental stewardship and increased urbanization, I could see car ownership becoming less common amongst millennials while sharing programs like Zipcar gain traction. In less urban areas with little public transportation, like my hometown in Tennessee, car ownership will still be a necessity.

5) Landline phones

Their argument: A majority of 25-to-29 year olds live in a household with only wireless phones.

My take: Yes! Bye bye landlines. I can’t see myself ever buying one and don’t think I know anyone my age who has one.

6) Cigarettes

Their argument: Historically, smoking rates have been higher among young people than the general population. Currently, we’re decreasing smoking at a faster rate than any other age group.

My take: Wouldn’t that be nice if smoking could phase out with our generation or the next! I don’t have a strong sense on this one, but here’s hoping.

7) Desktop computers

Their argument: Millennials are the only demographic to own more laptops than desktops. Many buy laptops as their first computers.

My take: Absolutely! I love my laptop and can’t imagine not carrying my computer around. The success of portable electronic devices, like iPads and smart phones, also supports the importance of mobility in emerging technologies. The only exceptions I can imagine are graphic designers and programmers who might want the larger screens for their professions.

8) Television

Their argument: Millennials aged 18-to-24 watch less traditional television than any other demographic. Also, we love the internet.

My take: Yes and no. Traditional television sets will probably become obsolete for my generation. I’ve written about college students not buying cable or a box set in favor of watching tv free online (legally or not). Consumption of video content, like television shows or shorts, will only increase with social media, regardless of whether or not there’s a television set in the living room.

Thanks to 24/7 Wall St. for an insightful article. Writing this post was much more fun than studying for finals. As always, thanks for reading! Lindsey Kirchoff

5 thoughts on “What We Really Think: 8 Products Millennials “Won’t” Buy in the Future

  1. Great post. As someone who’s at the tail end of GenX I can relate to several of these if I’m not quite in the demographic.

  2. Thanks Bill! Glad you can relate.

  3. Kathryn says:

    The only thing on that list I would miss is the occasional beer. Thanks for the great interpretation, I love the changes that Facebook generation are bringing – now I just need to figure out how we sell the new ways of doing everything to the guys up the food chain.

  4. Saurabh Hooda says:

    When i read this article on Yahoo i was sceptical of their declarations but after hearing opinion from one-of-the horse mouth i got real hang of the things. that is why internet is awesome. it gives people access to diverse opinions :)

  5. -Kathryn: I hear ya! That was the hardest one for me to believe. I don’t think beer’s going anywhere. It’s been around for thousands of years for a reason. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the types/brands of beer that are popular shifts dramatically. It’s already happening. I wrote a little about it in a previous post called “Why More and More Millennials Drink Craft Beer”. Definitely a very interesting industry to watch…best of luck with those guys up the food chain!

    -Saurabh: Thank you for your kind words! I’d love to be a part of what makes the internet awesome. I feel like I find something new and interesting online every day from people all over the world–it’s amazing. It does seem a little crazy that some of the objects so entrenched in our everyday life could be obsolete soon, but then again, no one’s using VCR’s anymore! It’ll be interesting to see which of these come true over time.

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