We're in the middle of a retail apocalypse. Brands are being forced to refocus their marketing strategies, big-name stores are closing their doors, online shopping and delivery services are the way of the future as technology becomes more polished and refined. Who is responsible for these significant changes? If you ask a baby boomer, they'll probably tell you it's all due to millennials!
The truth of the matter is, the younger generation has become tech and consumer-savvy. They prioritize convenience over the olden ways. Many brands that once seemed necessary to daily life have become relics of the past. Millennials now outnumber the older generations meaning their refusal to buy from certain brands can cause their sales to plummet.
However, some of the brands listed were already on their way out with no specific correlation between their declining business and millennial usage. Check out our list of brands millennials are blamed for killing and see if you agree.
10 Buffalo Wild Wings
Millennials have been accused of killing the casual dining experience. Places like Buffalo Wild Wings, Outback Steakhouse, Ruby Tuesday, TGI Fridays, and Red Robin have all suffered a severe sales slump in the last few years. Many of these companies have shut down a large portion of their restaurants or attempted to branch out in their business opportunities by embracing food delivery services such as GrubHub and DoorDash.
Unlike the older generation, millennials have become increasingly interested in cooking at home. As technology develops faster and more convenient ways of eating from home with meal plan and delivery services, the younger generation is choosing those to cook from home over going out to places that take longer and require sit-down dining.
9 Heineken USA
Beer used to be the go-to beverage for parties, barbecues, dining out, and more. That isn't the case anymore and a big reason why is because of millennials. They prefer drinking wine and spirits over beer. According to Fortune, the popular beer brand, Heineken USA had to lay off 12% of its staff last year due to poor sales.
They're not the only beer brand experiencing this either. Bud Light and Coors have also taken serious hits in their revenue streams. Ironically, millennials drink more than their parents did, but they strongly prefer cocktails and hard liquor over beer. While the beer industry is plummeting, wine and liquor sales are soaring.
Costco is the go-to place for people who want to save money by buying in bulk. If you and your family go through 50 rolls of toilet paper a month, then it makes economic sense to buy more at one time and save more in the long run. The primary demographic shopping at Costco and other warehouse stores like BJ's and Sam's Club skews much older.
Millennials are less likely to have big families, and they're more likely to shop online, which cuts out the necessity for driving to a store like Costco to shop, even if it would save them a little cash. Per an analysis from the Washington Post, warehouse stores cut more than 2,000 jobs per month in the year 2017. Even Wal-Mart has closed some of its stores. It proves that online shopping is the way of the future.
7 Chicken of the Sea
When is the last time you used a can opener? If the answer is "not in the recent future," you might be a millennial. Many don't even own can openers. Processed foods like canned tuna are struggling in sales because millennials are eating better, and that means they're not snacking on tuna fish and crackers during their mid-day snack.
Starkist, Chicken of the Sea, and Bumblebee are still leading the charge in sales of tuna, but the US Department of Agriculture reports their sales have fallen more than 40% since the 1980s. Baby boomers are quick to blame millennials for this, but tuna sales have been falling for several decades now. That said, it is true that the percentage of people from the age of 18 to 34 buying tuna is significantly less than those over the age of 55.
What else are millennials killing? Apparently, the fabric softener industry. Gain, Bounce, and Downy are all part of the Proctor & Gamble umbrella. Their sales have been going down, and the brand bosses blame millennials for their poor return. In truth, the necessity for fabric softener has been decreasing for a while.
Laundry detergent companies try to use more soothing chemicals in their soaps so they won't necessitate the need for a softener. Many clothing brands come with tags explicitly stating you shouldn't use softener. Again, it's not millennials fault the world has evolved beyond fabric softener. But Proctor & Gamble has seen a slight uptick in their sales since changing their marketing tactics to replace the word "softener" with "conditioner."
5 Soap Bar Brands
Do you use bars of soap or liquid soap? Answering the question could quickly determine your generation. Millennials aren't using soap bars. Young people have a prominent belief that bars of soap carry bacteria and germs not found in liquid soap. The fact young people don't use soap bars makes sense when you think about it, a lot of young people live with roommates now, more so than the previous generation.
Imagine seeing a wet bar of soap with unknown hair clinging to in your shower. Have you seen how gross soap scum is? CBS News reports that only 33% of 25 to 34 years old believe it's okay to wash your face with a soap bar compared to 60% of Americans over the age of 65.
Even though technically Hooters could be lumped with casual dining experiences, it's slightly different. Hooters is part of a type of restaurant subset known as "breastaurants." These are places known for hiring scantily clad women to waitress. Hooters isn't the only chain in this subset, but it is the most prominent.
Unfortunately for them, millennials aren't into over-priced hot wings and women in tight white tank tops, at least not in the way their parents were. Much of this could be due to the rise of women empowerment movements and the atmosphere at Hooters being seen as unsavory. Overall, Hooters has seen a 7% drop in revenue since 2012, according to a report by Entrepreneur.
3 Hellmann's Mayonnaise
Did you know there is currently a war on condiments going on in the United States? Millennials aren't eating even condiments the right way according to older generations! Mayonnaise is out, and hot sauce is in. Wall Street Journal reports that mayonnaise sales of fallen 6.7% between 2012 and 2017. The reason mayo was so popular for so long was due to its ability to become the universal condiment.
Mayo is a mostly bland addition to any meal. It adds a quick dose of moisture and serves as an excellent homogenizer for a variety of dishes. The problem is, millennials are eating more diverse food. They seek out authenticity over comfort foods like potato salad or deviled eggs. They've traded in comfort condiments for chimichurri and sriracha.
Similar to the problems being faced by warehouse stores like Costco and Sam's Club, millennials are also fleeing department stores such as Macy's and Sears. KMart and Sears went bankrupt not too long ago and are struggling to stay afloat. A majority of their stores have already gone out of business.
The issue millennials have with Macy's and other stores such as Nordstrom, is the bulk of their products are aimed towards attracting affluent customers who are willing to shell out hefty amounts of cash for designer brands. Millennials are less interested in buying designer and prefer to save their money are experiences like traveling with friends or going to destination restaurants that aren't part of chains.
It's the era of the beard. Men are far less interested in a strict shaving schedule than they used to be. Many men have approached a more laid-back system of shaving. It is more fashionable to sport some scruff or a full beard than to be clean-shaven, look at the outcry the internet had when Jason Momoa shaved his beard off.
Years ago, it was considered disrespectful or lazy for men to show up in the office unshaven. That isn't the case anymore. CNN reports that Gillette's overall sales dropped by 13% between 2012 and 2017. As a result, the company is taking more extreme measures to maintain their clientele by slashing prices by an average of 12%.