Oops! We Did It Again Millennials Have Killed Another Industry

By Maya Kotwal

If you are like me and spend an inordinate amount of time on the Internet, you may have noticed some articles floating around recently proclaiming that millennials are “killing” various industries — napkins, beer, cereal, and golf, to name a few.

In case you haven’t heard of this phenomenon allow me to clue you in: recently, several industries have been seemingly dying out due to changes in consumer buying habits.

Except, it’s not exactly a change in consumer spending pattern causing this, it’s a shift in consumer buying power. Millennials are a demographic of people in the US, usually defined as those born between 1980 and 2000 — people in their twenties and thirties today — who make up a significant portion of the US consumer market. In fact, Accenture predicts that by 2020 Millennials will have nearly $1.4 trillion in spending power in the US, and will represent 30% of retail sales.

As millennials grow to have more buying power, their buying habits have the power to shape which business sectors thrive and which do not. Unfortunately for some industries, millennials’ tastes vary from the generations before them, thus bringing forth the end of some industries.


The most recent victim of this pattern of behavior is department stores. According to NBC news, traditional department stores, like Macy’s, are closing stores, while off-price retailers, like TJ Maxx, are opening more. Personally, I can attest to this — there’s a Nordstrom Rack near my house that I love going to, and I tend to buy much less from bigger department stores in the mall, which ironically enough includes the real Nordstrom.

This change in store openings and closings reflects the buying trends of millennials, as we seem to be more inclined to shopping in discount stores instead of full-price retailers. This goes against what is often believed about millennial shopping habits: that we only shop online. While this may be true to a certain extent, it seems we still like going to stores to see products in real life — just not the same types of stores the generations before us frequented.

Neha Saboo