Millennials are the generation born between 1981 and 1996. This generation is quite different from the previous ones, especially when it comes to consumerism. Young people just aren’t as willing to spend their money on anything, and everything, so many companies are struggling right now. You’ve probably heard it before: “Millennials have killed ______.”
Generation Y has been psychologically scarred from growing up during the recession. Memories of growing up with financial instability have led to millennials being tight with their money. They’re more willing to save up for a big purchase instead of continually going shopping or out to eat. Additionally, many brands have struggled with appealing to the younger generation, leading to a decrease in traffic and sales. Millennials are the generation most comfortable with technology and social media, so most of their transactions occur online.
From retail stores to restaurants to food companies, millennials have led to the demise of numerous brands. Keep reading to learn what brands may not be able to survive because of millennial influence.
1. J. Crew
For many years, J. Crew has been a top retailer. Its classic, casual offerings have been a go-to for celebrities like Michelle Obama and consumers alike. At one time, J. Crew was the ultimate example of American fast fashion.
In 2014, the J. Crew brand began to decline. Shoppers started ordering clothing online and stopped going to malls. Additionally, J. Crew’s aesthetic stopped appealing to millennials. Millennials tend to look for unique, on-the-margins fashion and J. Crew suits the older generation better. J. Crew chose a signature style around 2012 that has since become dated, leading to them losing their freshness.
Once the number one fast-food restaurant in the world, McDonald’s has experienced its worst decline in sales over the past ten years. Sales in the United States have been falling steadily in the past year, and research shows millennials could be to blame. Customers from their teens to their early thirties are sick of over-processed meat products.
Many millennials have abandoned McDonald’s in favor of healthier choices like Panera Bread and Chipotle. They’d rather eat at places with organic and unprocessed food choices. Millennials also like places where you can customize your food for the same price as a McDonald’s combo meal.
3. Toyota Scion
Another victim of the millennial generation is the Toyota Scion vehicle. This car was launched in 2003 and was initially a hit with Generation Y. The Scion was affordable, uniquely built, and easy to customize.
This boxy vehicle was used to appeal to millennials specifically, and Toyota put a lot of time and money into marketing them. The idea was for buyers to buy the car for a low price and use various parts and accessories to customize their Scion. Most buyers weren’t into DIY car modification, so the brand declined. It didn’t help matters that baby boomers took a liking to the Toyota Scion.
4. The Canadian Tourism Industry
Traveling is an activity that all generations love to do, right? For millennials, the destination is the most essential part of traveling. If the place they are visiting isn’t exciting or won’t make for great Instagram photos, it’s not worth it.
Because of that, Canada has seen a decrease in foreign tourism. If millennials can book a trip to Europe or another country for way less than a trip to Canada, they’ll go there. Many millennials don’t see the appeal of going up north even though there is a wealth of exploration to be done in Canada. The Canadian Tourism Board needs to figure out ways to entice Generation Y to book a trip.
5. Tiffany & Co.
You know the saying, “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend?” That isn’t the case anymore. The sale of diamonds and other gemstones has steadily declined in the past few years. In the past, diamonds have been thought of as the ultimate statement piece and an indication of wealth and luxury.
Millennials are the generation of saving money, so buying jewelry isn’t a priority. Since millennials are more interested in spending money on experiences rather than material goods, diamonds are not selling like they used to. Ethical issues also prevent younger people from investing in diamonds. Many millennials are choosing jewelry that is conflict-free and free of diamonds.
Chain restaurants like Applebee’s, Olive Garden, and Buffalo Wild Wings used to be hotspots for millennials, but times have changed. These places used to be optimal lunch spots for office workers. Because many millennials don’t work a typical 9 to 5 job, they aren’t going out to lunch as much.
Generation Y is more interested in creating weekly grocery budgets and cooking at home rather than going out to eat. If they do go out, it’s to fast-casual restaurants like Chipotle. Applebee’s is shutting down 135 restaurants because they focused too much money and time on appealing to millennials but couldn’t succeed.
7. Home Depot
Home Depot is a go-to spot for homeowners who want to improve their living spaces. Home improvement is a big business, but it’s not big with millennials. Stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s have seen a steady decline because people aren’t buying houses anymore.
Student debt is the main reason why Generation Y isn’t purchasing homes. Most young people can’t afford a mortgage and instead choose to rent. While most older generations think buying a house is a sound investment, millennials don’t agree. Additionally, younger people aren’t settling down and starting a family right way; thus, a house is not needed.
8. The NFL
It’s hard to believe that a brand as big as the National Football League could be killed by millennials. Generation Y could seriously impact the future of the NFL. You may be thinking that the NFL could be going down because millennials aren’t willing to spend money to watch the games, but that’s not the case.
The NFL could be in danger of having talented players in the future because of overprotective millennial parents. Football is a dangerous sport and can cause many serious injuries, especially in the head. Millennials are known for being overprotective parents, and many parents disapprove of their children playing tackle football. Perhaps these concerns could change how the NFL operated in the future.
9. The Olympics
The Olympic Games occur every four years and practically the whole world watches. In the past few years, viewership and overall enthusiasm have declined for the Olympic games. The Rio Olympics in 2016 saw a twenty-five percent viewership fall from the London Olympics in 2012.
Millennials don’t watch TV like other generations tend to. They are streamers and watch shows and movies on smartphones and tablets. Generation Y typically doesn’t tune in to watch primetime network television. They would instead scroll through social media to see the results of the Olympic games than watch them live. NBC needs to find a way to make the Olympics more appealing to millennial viewers.
“Breastaurants” like Hooters and Twin Peaks have seen a steady decline since the early 2010s. Studies show that millennials have lost interest in breasts and as such don’t go to novelty restaurant chains that focus on eye candy. Additionally, Generation Y has been going out to eat less and less.
Hooters has tried to appeal to a broader consumer base by revamping its menu. They are toning down the focus on Hooters Girls and attempting to get more women into their restaurants. By adding salads and healthy choices to their menus as well as redoing the decor in their restaurants, Hooters is hoping to get millennials back in their favor.
Cereal used to be the go-to breakfast choice for most people. These days, millennials are avoiding this tasty breakfast grain. A study showed that Generation Y didn’t like eating cereal for breakfast because they were too lazy to clean it up after eating.
In reality, it seems that cereal is declining because many people skip breakfast. Also, a lot of millennials avoid eating carbs and stay away from milk. Since a lot of cereal choices are packed with sugar, health-conscious millennials would rather eat a healthier option for breakfast. For millennials, it’s easier to pick something that they can eat on the go instead of eating cereal in the morning.
Riding motorcycles is an activity that’s best suited for our parents and grandparents. Older people love to cruise down the highway on their motorcycle, but millennials aren’t fans. Experts predict that bike sales will steadily decline in the next decade.
Safety is a big reason why millennials have stopped buying motorcycles. Additionally, many young people don’t have driver’s licenses and prefer to use ride-sharing services like Uber. Harley-Davidson motorcycles are expensive, and many millennials can’t justify spending so much money on a bike. If a millennial buys a motorcycle, it will be a less expensive model that’s ideal for practical reasons like transportation.
Fabric softener like Downy has fallen out of favor in the last decade. It used to be a laundry staple that everyone used to make their clothes nice and soft. Liquid fabric softener and fabric softening sheets were a staple in most laundry rooms.
Advancements in washing machines and laundry detergent have led to the decline of fabric softener. Millennials tend to use a minimal amount of detergent to clean their clothes and find that fabric softener is unnecessary. It is also seen as an extra purchase that will not fit in their budget. Additionally, clothing these days is made with heartier fabrics that can take a lot of washings and still maintain their softness, making Downy obsolete.
14. Wells Fargo
Because millennials have changed the way money is spent, and investments are made, banks have been on the decline. Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Chase have all seen a decrease in customers in the last few years. These banks have had a hard time appealing to millennial consumers.
Banks offer things like mortgage loans, home-equity lending, and retirement services. Today’s millennials aren’t buying houses, investing in the stock market, or saving for retirement, so these services don’t appeal to them at all. Generation Y has the highest level of student loan debt in history, so big purchases like a home will most likely be pushed back for many years. If banks want to keep millennial customers, they have to figure out how to offer them something new.
Department stores like Macy’s, JCPenney, and Nordstrom have seen a steady decline and are blaming it on millennials. Younger shoppers tend to shop at fast-fashion brands like Zara and H&M. Generation Y is more interested in how clothes look than what label they come from.
Big department stores are closing all over the country because their sales have declined so much. Millennials tend to buy clothes and accessories online, especially since return policies have become so convenient. Additionally, millennials would rather spend their money on experiences than designer clothing. They’ll buy inexpensive, unique clothing instead of pricier goods that appeal to an older generation.
16. Michael Kors
Designer handbags were once a mark of luxury. Pretty much anyone who enjoyed fashion carried a designer bag. Brands like Michael Kors, Kate Spade, and Coach were big sellers several years ago, but recently their sales have declined.
While luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Chanel are still selling bags, trendy brands like Michael Kors aren’t as popular. Millennials aren’t investing in designer goods like they used to. Also, these brands became so popular and over-saturated the market, making them less appealing. Nowadays, these brands are being sold at a significant discount. Unless these brands drastically change their aesthetic, sales will continue to decline.
17. 24 Hour Fitness
Gym memberships have seen a steady decline over the past few years. Many gyms require members to sign lengthy contracts and give them grief when they want to quit. Gyms like 24 Hour Fitness see more baby boomer members than millennials.
Millennials who like to keep active don’t like being tied down to one particular gym; they prefer options. Boutique fitness like Pilates and Yoga is much more popular with Generation Y. There are services that help you book different classes at various fitness centers. That type of service appeals better to millennials than 24 Hour Fitness. Some millennials may forgo paying for fitness services altogether and workout at home.
Millennials are known as the cord-cutting generation. So many young people choose to cancel their cable subscriptions in favor of using streaming services. Because of that, cable companies like DirecTV, AT&T, and Xfinity have been losing customers.
Cable has gotten expensive, with average monthly prices approaching $100 for the necessary packages. For around $30 a month, millennials can subscribe to a few streaming services and get a ton of great programming. Many streaming services have begun creating original content that has become critically-acclaimed. Streaming services are also easier to watch on the go than cable television. Since televisions aren’t being watched as much as smaller screens, having cable isn’t a priority for millennials.
Kraft is best known for making American cheese and Macaroni & Cheese. Kraft American cheese has been a staple in many American households for decades. Recently, the classic American cheese has fallen out of favor, especially with millennials.
Millennials have been choosing higher-quality cheeses for their meals. They prefer cheddar, provolone, and asiago to the preservative-ridden American cheese. Even popular restaurants have abandoned slimy American cheese slices. McDonald’s classic Big Mac comes with cheese without preservatives. Panera Bread’s signature grilled cheese sandwich is now made with cheddar, fontina, smoked gouda, and Monteau. Millennials have “canceled” American cheese because of its low nutritional value and unrecognizable ingredients.
Not much is more American than an ice-cold beer. For decades, brands like Coors, Budweiser, and Heineken have been major money-makers in the United States. Recently, big brands like these have been declining in sales.
Studies show that millennials are drinking less alcohol than older generations. Generation Y prefers wine and liquor over beer. Because of that, the wine and spirits industries are booming while beer sales are slowing down. Those that choose to drink beer will select a fancier, craft beer over primary brands like Coors. Experts estimate that the beer industry will continue to decline in the years to come steadily.
21. Starkist Tuna
Once a pantry staple, canned tuna is now no longer a popular way to eat tuna. Over the past three decades, this processed fish has been eaten less and less. While overall tuna sales are down, millennials are buying the least amount of canned tuna.
Companies like Starkist Tuna, Chicken of the Sea, and Bumble Bee are struggling because Generation Y is not interested in canned, processed, smelly tuna. They’d instead go for healthier, fresher options like fish from a fish market. Many millennials may not even own a can opener! Tuna companies have tried to appeal to millennials with new options like meal kits and packaged tuna cups with crackers.
When most of us were kids, our parents gave us delicious raisins to munch. We would even encounter raisins while trick or treating! Nowadays millennials are not a fan of this tiny dried fruit.
Raisin farmers have taken a beating because of disinterest in raisins. California was once the leading producer of raisins, but now that honor goes to Turkey. Since millennials are focused on eating healthier, unprocessed foods, they don’t eat dried fruit. They’d instead buy fresh fruit and vegetables to snack on. Sun-Maid and other raisin companies are focusing on marketing to baby boomers and senior citizens.
23. Callaway Golf
It’s not surprising that the golf industry is struggling because of millennials. Golf is an expensive sport that is popular with older people. Generation Y is less likely to spend money on golf clubs, equipment, and country club fees.
Because baby boomers are aging out of playing golf and millennials aren’t picking up the game, Callaway Golf and other golf companies are losing profits. Studies show that millennials prefer activities that they can buy multipurpose equipment for like camping. It can also be hard for beginners to get into playing golf because golf ranges and clubs have so many rules to follow.
One of the biggest industries hit by Generation Y is realty. Millennials just aren’t interested in buying homes right away. The financial risks associated with having a mortgage don’t appeal to the younger generation.
Baby boomers were all about the starter home and bought houses at a young age. Millennials tend to save up for a home, buying a larger home than the previous generation did. Young people will rent until they reach their thirties and then purchase a million-dollar home. That way, they can establish their careers before they settle down. Additionally, student loan debt could be keeping them from making a big purchase.
Purina, Pedigree, Kibbles ‘n Bits and other name brand dog foods are struggling because of a change in millennials’ spending habits. Millennials are willing to spend a lot on their beloved dogs, but they’re very picky about what they feed them. It’s up to dog food companies to find better ways to appeal to millennials.
Generation Y prefers to feed their dogs healthy food with minimal processing. They prefer pet food that’s human-grade. Organic, gluten-free options are also appealing to millennial shoppers. Brands like Purina sell dog food with a lot of ingredients, most of which are unrecognizable. Millennials would rather buy healthy dog food or make their own than buy processed kibble.
26. Best Foods
Once one of the most popular condiments, mayonnaise has fallen out of favor. Best Foods and Hellmann’s are struggling to sell their products to millennials. Because of a decline in sales, mayonnaise companies have had to reduce prices.
Millennials have a taste for fun, exciting products. They would much rather eat tasty aioli or hummus than boring, oily mayonnaise. Many members of Generation Y are health conscious and vegan, so mayonnaise is off the table for them due to its egg content. There are egg-free mayonnaise options out there for non-meat eaters. To combat the lack of enthusiasm for mayo, these brands have released new products including spicy mayo and Mayochup, a combination of mayonnaise and ketchup.
27. Discover Card
It was once a given that a person would have a credit card. Credit was used for shopping and applying for loans, mortgages, and more. When the economy declined several years ago, consumers started using their credit less often.
Millennials tend to avoid credit these days because of how hard debt can be to climb out of. Most stick to using debit cards and forgo applying for Discover, Visa, or Mastercards. Generation Y is wary of using credit cards and becoming trapped after spending more than they can afford. There are other ways to build credit without opening and using a credit card.
ESPN has been the go-to channel for sports fans to watch games and highlights from their favorite teams. Since 1978, ESPN and its subsidiaries have been a force in the world of sports. Up until recently, this channel has received high ratings, but things have changed.
Because of the cord-cutting trend, millennials are far less likely to watch ESPN than the previous generation. Generation Y would instead catch highlights on social media than tune into a live broadcast. They may subscribe to the ESPN streaming service, which ESPN is taking a chance on. ESPN is using social media to entice millennials to watch their programming.
29. Vanity Fair Napkins
The napkin industry is hurting thanks to millennials. It used to be that paper napkins were staples at restaurants, but nowadays that’s not the case. Because they are no longer viewed as economic choices, millennials aren’t buying napkins.
Napkin companies like Vanity Fair are struggling because millennials are buying paper towels instead of napkins. They can use paper towels for more than just wiping their face, making them a better purchase. Also, many millennials eat meals away from home, eliminating the need to stock up on napkins. While only 56 percent of surveyed shoppers say they buy napkins, 86 percent admit to purchasing paper towels.
30. Regal Cinemas
Despite most movies being targeted toward millennials, they don’t go to the cinema. Movie ticket sales have declined in the past year even with big-budget superhero movies on the rise. While plenty of people still go to the movies, Generation Y is not buying many tickets.
Because of the popularity of streaming services, millennials have a lot of options for watching movies at home. Theaters like Regal Cinemas are looking for ways to get millennials interested in seeing movies. They’ve considered using social media to attract customers. Another idea is to allow cell phone usage during the film, but many people are resistant to the idea.
31. Irish Spring
Irish Spring, Dove, and Dial are having a hard time selling bar soap to millennials. With the trend of elaborate skincare on the rise, millennials have a wide variety of choices for cleansing their skin. Bar soap is considered boring and not as versatile as other cleansing products.
Millennials also consider bar soap to be unhygienic and full of germs. They would rather use moisturizing products like cleansing oil to rid their skin of dirt and grime. For those with oily or sensitive skin, oil-based products are excellent for a healthy complexion. Bar soap can be drying and damaging to delicate skin.
32. NCAA Football
During the fall, college football games are huge events with thousands of attendees. Frequently football fans will gather in the parking lot of the football stadium for tailgating. Like the other entries on this list, millennials are drifting away from attending college football games.
Generation Y is avoiding attending NCAA games because there are more convenient ways to watch the game. Going to a bar or someone’s house to watch a game with friends is fun and more cost-effective than buying game tickets. You don’t have to worry about paying for parking and refreshments or dealing with heavy traffic. Because of that, college football game attendance has been down the past five out of six years.
33. Sandals Resorts
For millennials, taking a vacation day is hard. They struggle with breaking away from work and getting out of town. Even if they accrue vacation days, millennials are hesitant to use them, no matter how burned out they get.
Because of that, vacation resorts like Sandals are struggling. Interestingly enough, millennials in management positions encourage other employees to take a vacation but don’t do the same. Travel companies are working hard to entice millennials to take a break and get away for a while. Because millennials view themselves as having more to prove to their bosses, they think not taking vacation days makes them look better.
GoFundMe and other crowdfunding sites used to be great ways for people who were working on a business and invention get funding from others. People could share their ideas and hopefully get them off the ground with help from supportive people. These days, GoFundMe has completely changed and not for the better.
Instead of using crowdfunding to get help with a business, users are using crowdfunding to beg for money for anything. People ask for money for medical procedures, vacations, school tuition, and more. Even celebrities have used crowdfunding sites to ask their fans for money to make an album or fund a movie. Too many millennials use crowdfunding as a way to make money without getting a job.
35. The McWrap
In 2013, McDonald’s introduced the McWrap, which was intended to be a healthier food choice on their menu. The McWrap was supposed to appeal to the younger generation who liked healthier options when going out to eat. This item was intended to compete with healthier restaurants like Panera Bread and Subway.
The McWrap was initially launched in Europe and was extremely popular, so McDonald’s brought it to the United States. McWraps take six times as long as a burger to make, so they cost McDonald’s more money to serve. When it comes to millennials, they don’t go to McDonald’s for health food. They’re more interested in all-day breakfast and cheap combinations.
36. Light and Fit Yogurt
Along with cereal, another breakfast staple is falling out of popularity. Light yogurt was once a mainstay in healthy diets, but not anymore. Companies like Dannon and Yoplait are struggling because millennials are no longer interested in their light yogurt products.
One reason why millennials aren’t interested in light yogurt anymore is that many in Generation Y don’t eat dairy products. They prefer dairy-free options like almond or coconut yogurt. Also, light yogurt isn’t as healthy as one might think. A healthier option millennials like to buy is Greek yogurt. Because of this, yogurt companies are choosing to focus on developing Greek yogurt products for their customers.
37. Holiday Inn
Since millennials aren’t taking vacations, they are staying in hotels less often. Holiday Inn, Motel 6, and Marriot are having a hard time appealing to millennial guests. Because of that, they are revamping room designs to see if they can gain more millennial customers.
Millennials like hotel rooms with a lot of space. Hotels are removing desks, dressers, and closet space to make rooms seem bigger. They install huge TVs and fast Wi-Fi in an attempt to give the rooms a fresher, more modern feel. This may appeal to millennials, but baby boomer guests are not pleased. They prefer the old room designs with plenty of furniture and closet space.
38. Smuckers Marmalade
As you can see from this list, millennials are not kind to condiments. Another victim of millennial shopping habits is orange marmalade. Since 2013, companies like Smuckers have seen a steady decline in sales, particularly among consumers under the age of twenty-eight.
Only one in one hundred marmalade purchases are made by someone under age twenty-eight. Experts believe that marmalade is not a popular choice because of its sweet and sour flavor. Most millennials would rather put sweet jam or creamy hazelnut spread on their toast in the morning. Orange marmalade tends to be a breakfast choice for the older generations.
39. Olay Anti-Aging Cream
The anti-aging industry has been hard at work for many years selling products promising to smooth wrinkles and other facial imperfections. Products like Olay Anti-Aging Cream have been traded as a part of the anti-aging movement. Thanks to millennials, anti-aging is not the hot trend it used to be.
Thanks to social media, anti-aging products are not a staple in the makeup bag of millennials. With filters and face editing apps, looking younger in photos has never been easier. Instead of applying anti-aging products, Generation Y can fix imperfections in a few swipes. Younger people are okay with wearing some moisturizer and lip balm instead of a full face of anti-aging skincare products.
40. Men’s Wearhouse
A few decades ago, it was basically a requirement for professionals to wear suits to work. Dress codes were strict, and attending formal occasions demanded fancy attire. In today’s society, the scope of the workplace wardrobe as dramatically shifted.
Because millennials don’t work the typical 9 to 5 job, suits are no longer the most common uniform. A lot of younger people work in open offices that allow casual attire like jeans and button-down shirts. For millennials who work from home, they can wear whatever they want, even pajamas! This has led to companies like Men’s Wearhouse losing a lot of customers and a lot of sales.