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10 Ways Millennial Consumer Trends are Shaping Industries

Millennials have often been portrayed in the media as entitled, lazy, and disinterested in traditional institutions. However, such stereotypes fail to acknowledge the diverse characteristics of this generation that includes individuals born between 1981 and 1996.

Millennials are the largest group in the American workforce, and their consumer preferences have the potential to shape industries. One of the key characteristics of millennials’ consumer trends is frugality.

This trend emerged following the Great Recession of 2008, when many millennials witnessed the impact of frivolous spending on financial stability. Additionally, millennials are opting for more sustainable and health-conscious options in their purchases.

Another important aspect to consider is how millennials’ preferences have impacted various industries. In this article, we will discuss ten examples of both the consumer trends and their impact on specific industries.

Let’s dive into the details!

Frugality: Opting for Financial Stability and Avoiding Frivolous Spending

The impact of the Great Recession is still apparent in the consumer behavior of millennials. This generation is keen to save money and pursue financial stability, as they witnessed the negative impact of financial instability.

Millennials are more conscious of their consumer behavior, opting for cheaper and value-based alternatives. A notable example is the shift towards local and sustainable products and services.

In contrast to previous generations, millennials prefer to support local businesses instead of multinational corporations. In addition to being eco-friendly and locally sourced, these products and services come with the added advantage of supporting the local economy.

Impact on Industries: Casual Dining Chains

As millennials opt for healthier and sustainable options over fast food, casual dining chains have witnessed a decline in same-store traffic. Companies such as TGI Friday’s and Applebee’s have resorted to closing stores and refocusing their marketing efforts to win back millennial customers.

Restaurants that have embraced the trend of health-conscious menus, sustainable ingredients, and local sourcing tend to perform well in this competitive arena. Traditional Weddings: Unique Approaches and Cost-Cutting Mindset

Millennials are creating unique wedding experiences that are personal and more budget-conscious.

They are opting for a range of venues beyond the conventional religious ceremony, including outdoor locations that provide beautiful natural surroundings. The growing trend of minimizing wedding-associated expenses also extends to the wedding dress, which can be rented or purchased second-hand rather than buying new.

Impact on Industries: Traditional Weddings

As millennial couples seek unique wedding experiences, the industry has adapted to cater to this demographic. Venues such as vineyards and ranches have become popular choices for weddings and other events due to their scenic beauty.

Additionally, bridal shops have introduced pre-owned dresses and alternative options to attract budget-conscious millennials. Beer: Preference for Craft and Local Beers

Craft beer has become increasingly popular, and millennials are one of the primary drivers behind this trend.

Compared to the previous generation, younger drinkers are interested in diverse beer options and are willing to experiment with new flavors. As a result, local breweries have gained popularity, and this shift towards craft and local beer has impacted larger beer brands.

Impact on Industries: Beer

Breweries that produce craft and local beers have experienced a significant increase in sales. Traditional beer brands, on the other hand, have struggled to keep up with this trend.

Companies such as Anheuser-Busch InBev have acquired several craft breweries in an attempt to cater to millennial preferences. Department Stores: Online Shopping Takes Over

Millennials are less likely to shop at brick-and-mortar retailers, opting instead for e-commerce platforms such as Amazon.

The rise of online shopping is partly due to the convenience factor, but also a result of environmental concerns associated with many department stores. Younger shoppers prioritize sustainability in their purchasing decisions and perceive traditional shopping experiences to be wasteful.

Impact on Industries: Department Stores

The impact of online shopping on department stores has been significant, with many closing or downsizing stores to cut costs. Some companies have adopted an e-commerce strategy in an attempt to cater to the shopping preferences of millennials.

However, online shopping remains a significant driver of industry change. Razors: Beard Trends and Subscription Services

Millennials are less attached to traditional grooming practices such as regular shaving.

The popularity of beards has contributed to a decline in razor sales, with many men opting for more relaxed norms regarding facial hair. In response, razor companies have introduced subscription services that deliver razors at regular intervals, providing a convenient alternative for those who do choose to shave.

Impact on Industries: Razors

Razor companies have struggled to keep up with millennials who are less interested in shaving. The introduction of subscription services has allowed them to adapt to changing trends, delivering products to individuals who do prefer to shave.

Soda: Health Concerns and Alternative Options

Millennials are more concerned with their health than previous generations and are less likely to consume soda or other sugary drinks. Instead, they opt for healthier alternatives such as sparkling water, kombucha, or other functional beverages.

Additionally, the founding of smaller soda companies with creative flavor combinations and natural ingredients has added to the competition in the industry. Impact on Industries: Soda

The shift towards healthier beverage options has impacted the sales of soda, with companies such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo struggling to keep up with the trend.

They have introduced alternative options such as flavored water and functional beverages to cater to the health-conscious preferences of millennials. Hotel Loyalty Programs: Embracing Airbnbs and Affordable Alternatives

Millennials are more likely to book hotel rooms on sites like Airbnb that offer affordable alternatives to traditional hotels.

Additionally, the younger generation is less concerned with loyalty programs offered by hotels and more interested in finding the best deals for their stay. Impact on Industries: Hotel Loyalty Programs

The hospitality industry has responded to the popularity of Airbnb by introducing affordable options that cater to the price-sensitive preferences of millennials.

Loyalty programs are being redesigned to offer added value to enhance guest experiences. Napkins: Sustainability and Cloth Replacements

Millennials are more eco-conscious than previous generations and have integrated environmentally friendly habits into daily life.

The use of disposable napkins contributes to environmental problems such as pollution and wastefulness. As a result, cloth napkins have gained popularity as an alternative and more sustainable option.

Impact on Industries: Napkins

Markets for disposable products are under threat as low-waste alternatives gain popularity. Napkin industries are starting to introduce sustainable options such as cloth napkins, with companies such as The Honest Company leading the way.

American Cheese: A Desire for Authentic and Unprocessed Foods

Millennials have shown skepticism towards processed foods, including processed cheese. This group prioritizes fresh and natural foods, which has led to declining sales of American cheese.

As an alternative, trend-setters have embraced artisanal varieties of cheese, encouraging small businesses to thrive. Impact on Industries: American Cheese

Processed cheese companies have struggled to maintain sales of American cheese as millennials actively seek unprocessed varieties.

Artisanal and specialty cheese producers have experienced a significant increase in demand, further highlighting the shift towards natural and authentic food preferences. Cable/Traditional TV: Subscription Decline and Streaming Services

Millennials are less likely to subscribe to cable and traditional TV services, preferring instead to stream content on mobile devices.

Streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu have gained popularity, offering an affordable and convenient alternative to traditional entertainment options. Impact on Industries: Cable/Traditional TV

The cable and traditional TV industry faces significant decline as millennials shift to streaming platforms.

As a result, companies have started to introduce new programs and channels to attract younger audiences. However, the popularity of streaming is not showing any signs of slowing down.


Millennials are characterized by their unique tastes and preferences, and their consumer behavior has contributed to significant changes in various industries. The shift towards sustainability, health-consciousness, and affordability is visible in many aspects of life, from consumer products to travel options.

By understanding these trends, companies can adapt their approach to remain relevant and appeal to millennial consumers. The article explores how millennials’ consumer trends have impacted various industries.

The shift towards frugality, sustainability, and health-consciousness is apparent in many aspects of life, from food to entertainment. These trends have particularly affected the casual dining chain industry, traditional weddings, beer, department stores, razors, soda, hotel loyalty programs, napkins, American cheese, and cable/traditional TV.

Companies must understand these trends and adapt to the preferences of millennial consumers to remain relevant and competitive. By embracing sustainable practices, offering value-based alternatives, and prioritizing quality over quantity, companies can win over this influential demographic.

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