Costco shoppers - millennial shopping habits

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There’s no debate about it, times are changing. And with changing times comes changing demands for some of the products that used to be considered essential. For millennials, the age group born between 1981-1996, some of the products America used to not be able to live without are now being ditched all together. From household appliances to popular food products, read on to see some of the surprising effects of millennial buying habits.

1. Cars (and Gas)

Millennials are pumping the brakes on buying cars and, with that, purchasing gas. Many millennials are even deciding not to get their driver’s license all together. In fact, in the last eight years, the number of drivers age 18-25 was down nearly 25%. Now that is a reversal.

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Market experts point to a ton of reasons for why millennials are deciding to leave the cars in the lot. In urban areas, young drivers would rather take public transportation than take the time to find parking, a sometimes painstaking task. Throughout the country, youngsters are also deciding to do use ride-sharing apps to get them from Point A to Point B. Either way, millennials are driving down automakers’ bottom lines.

2. Fabric Softener

What’s in a name? Well, if the name is “fabric softener,” the name is pretty much an explanation of what the product does. But don’t go asking millennials about it. A recent study said that millennials are not using fabric softener because they are not exactly sure what it really does.

Fabric Softener things disappearing millenials are not buyingFabric Softener things disappearing millenials are not buying


Between 2007 and 2015, fabric softener sales dropped by 15 percent. With the technology in washing machines becoming more advanced, and more fashion brands deciding to focus on comfort, millennials just aren’t buying into the need of softened fabric. And when they are buried in student loans, this generation is cutting costs wherever they can.

3. Traditional Gyms

Millennials are tending to focus so much on healthy, organic options when it comes to food. Considering that, it seems surprising that the number of people going to traditional gyms is declining. But it is not that millennials are skipping the workouts altogether, they are just choosing to do so elsewhere.

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Instead of the typically giant room filled with machines, this age group is choosing boutique gyms catered to certain types of workouts. Whether it means hitting a CrossFit gym, a Pilates studio, a kickboxing class or anything else, millennials are focusing on specific workouts that they enjoy. Apparently, when they are thinking about where to exercise, millennials are weighing all of their options.

4. Cereal

Blame it on laziness or blame it on the overly packed schedules among young professionals, but there is a pretty shocking reason why this age group chooses not to eat cereal in the morning. According to the New York Times, 40 percent of millennials surveyed said they do not eat cereal because it was “inconvenient.” But why?

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The Times reported that cereal “was an inconvenient breakfast choice because they had to clean up after eating it.” Yes, apparently washing a spoon and a bowl is simply too much to have to deal with. And don’t forget, there is also the pain of putting the box back in the pantry!

5. Business Suits

When it’s time to get ready for work, many millennials are deciding that business suits simply do not suit them. Whether the fashion choice does not fit their own personal style, or does not suit a more laid back office environment, young fashionistas are just not buying it.

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While some more fashionable pant suits are definitely still in style, there has been a huge trend in workplace veering toward more casual business attire, and not just on Fridays. Denim in offices is becoming more and more of a common occurrence. Just ask Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, it seems he has done just fine without suiting up every morning.

6. Homes

We’ve all seen the quintessential pictures of first time home buyers, clutching their shiny, new keys as they stand outside of their brand new house. But has anyone else noticed that there seem to be less and less of those happy homeowners? There are a few reasons for that.

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As home prices are continuing to rise, many millennials are not able to afford buying their own homes. But beyond that, many worry that investing in real estate means putting down their anchors in a certain location. Instead, they would rather have the ease and ability to uproot and move if work or life calls for it. But this is not the only traditional life step that millennials are skipping.

7. Regular Milk

We are old enough to remember a time when there were seemingly just three types of milk: nonfat, whole, and two percent. Today, it seems like just about everything is producing milk. There’s almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk and oat milk just to name a few. And we could keep going.

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So what is the problem with just regular old cow’s milk? One reason is that millennials are increasingly becoming vegan or choosing to go for a more environmentally friendly option. Others are choosing other milks as a healthier alternative. Milk sales have dropped 40% since 1970. And this is not the only childhood staple that millennials are ditching.

8. Weddings and Diamonds

First comes love, then comes marriage? Apparently not anymore. In the 1980s, two-thirds of people age 25-34 had married. Today, more than half of the people in that age group are single. Millennials are saying “I Don’t” to saying “I Do.”

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And along with a decline in marriage rates, there has been in a decline in diamond sales, even among those who are deciding to tie the knot. Instead, millennials are going for less expensive and more unique options for their engagement rings. We are going to miss all-night dancing at weddings, but not as much as we are going to miss some of the other things on this list.

9. Movie Theaters

People used to make a night out of heading to the theater, grabbing a gigantic tub of refillable popcorn, and watching a movie. Nowadays, even the draws of reclining chairs, bar service and surround sound are not enough to fill up a movie theater.

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But who would want to get themselves all the way to the movie theater and spend money on a ticket when they could, instead, stay in their pajamas, turn the lights off and stream films from the comfort of their own couch? Millennials just do not want to move to go to the movies anymore. But there is no doubt that nothing can compare to movie theater popcorn.

10. Bulk Groceries

We personally could make an entire day out of looking around Costco, staring at the gigantic products, and trying all of the free samples. We mean, who doesn’t want a 300-pack of toilet paper rolls? Well, according to market experts, millennials don’t.

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And the reasoning behind the decline of bulk grocery shopping among millennials makes a lot of sense. The age group is cooking less, so they have no need to spend money on groceries that will probably only go bad anyway. For any of their bulk purchasing, millennials would rather purchase products online and have them come right to their doorstep rather than going to a store.

11. Domestic Brand Beers

Domestic beers like Budweiser, Coors and and Miller brands used to be a staple of any barbecue. But for anyone who has been to a millennial’s housewarming or back yard party, they might be hard pressed to find a Bud Light in the fridge.

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Millennials are increasingly deciding to purchase flavored beverages such as hard lemonade, iced tea and seltzer. Some others are going for the more unique craft beer options. And some are swearing off beer entirely and going for healthier options. Seems like the beer belly is going out of style. That is at least one thing we will not miss.

12. Cruises

A good cruise can be a boatload of fun. Cruises are all about appreciating the journey as these giant ships take travelers from one destination to another, letting them off for short excursions along the way. And with cruise ships getting even bigger and more extravagant, many would think that people would be lining up to board them.

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But it seems that even the water slides, golf courses, extravagant buffets, and nightly entertainment is not enough to bring millennials on board. Market experts say that millennials are looking for more authentic travel experiences, and that does not include traveling on a giant yacht. What, normal people don’t just live on giant floating mansions at sea?

13. Beef

Apparently millennials have a major beef with beef. In a new environmentally conscious world, red meat just is not making the cut for young foodies. While many are deciding to skip the red meat for a more green diet, others are reportedly also against it for moral reasons.

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Beyond that, millennials just flat out do not have much money left for groceries after paying rent, student loans and all of their other expenses. So purchasing beef is seen as a huge luxury that can easily be taken out of the budget. Hey, anything to make ends “meat” – ahem – meet.

14. Napkins

When is the last time anyone ate at a millennial’s home and there were napkins, let alone a dining room table? Napkins are going out of style in younger households. According to consumer studies, 15 years ago, six out of 10 households bought napkins. Today, only four in 10 households have napkins on hand.

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That is because millennials are much more prone to rip their guests off a piece of paper towel rather than have dedicated napkins. It’s just one less thing to buy when the budget is already tight. In fact, napkins are not the the only household item that is quickly disappearing. Read on for more of the things millennials are choosing to live without.

15. Mayonnaise

Remember when mayonnaise used to be totally cool? Okay, neither do we, but bear with us. Somewhere along the line in condiment history, someone decided that mayonnaise was out of style, and the millennials have definitely taken note. Because of this, mayo sales have been dropping for the last few years.

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Fred Duval/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Part of all the anti-mayo hate out there has to do with its health benefits – or the lack thereof. The mixture of egg yolks, oil, lemon juice, and vinegar does not exactly lend itself to a healthy diet. Instead, millennials are replacing the condiment with more organic alternatives like avocados.

16. Irons

There was once a time when leaving home without a crisp, ironed shirt on was a huge deal breaker. Those days are long gone, as more and more millennials are choosing not to keep an iron around in their homes. So let’s iron out the details.

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It is becoming increasingly popular for brands to advertise their no-iron materials, promising that the clothing will remain wrinkle-free without the hassle of ironing. Meanwhile, fabrics that usually require ironing are on the outs. And besides, there is no wrinkle that simply putting an item of clothing in the dryer for a second won’t fix!

17. Land Lines

We don’t have a home phone number, but here are some other numbers that might be of interest. A survey says that 66 percent of millennials live in a totally wireless home. Forty-one percent have no landline phone (that number would be higher, but many Internet and cable companies provide a landline for free), and 83 percent of millennials sleep next to their cellphones.

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With all that phone time, it is no wonder why many millennials have decided to ditch their land lines. And since many millennials are renting homes, going through the steps to set up a landline seems like a bad call.

18. Lottery Tickets

Millennials are a generation that is facing major debt, rising housing prices and plateauing salaries. But for anyone who thinks that these financial realities would make playing the lottery more enticing, think again. This generation is not willing to bet their money on the lottery.

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A Gallup survey found that while 61 percent of people ages 50 to 64 played the lottery, only about a third of people between the ages of 18 to 29 are doing the same. The generation has simply scratched lottery cards off their list of must-dos. And that is not the only surprising money decision they are making. There’s more to come!

18. Postcards

The decline in postcard sales is not the most startling item on this list. Once upon a time, 20 million postcards were sold every year. Today, there are only about 5 million sold. But the reason why everyone is less likely to receive postcards might come as a surprise.

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Postcards were already on their way out with the creation of email. Later, with the introduction of things like Facebook and Instagram, the Internet had basically become a widely circulated postcard. Why take the time and money to send a physical letter when you can just post a virtual message? Now, postcards are used more for decoration than for correspondence.

20. Stilettos

For anyone who wants to understand millennials, just try walking a mile in their shoes. And for anyone planning on doing so, just make sure not to slip on some high heeled stilettos. Millennials are no longer head over heels for the high heel.

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Ray Tamarra/Getty Images

Instead of spending the night teetering in some pretty uncomfortable and dangerous high heels, millennials would rather go for something more comfortable. For this reason, sneaker sales are booming across the country, and more and more celebrities are starting to advertise sneakers. Brands that have usually focused on heels are now starting to offer some more comfortable alternatives.

21. Life Insurance and Stocks

When it comes to making money moves, millennials are less likely to invest their hard earned cash in two things: Life insurance and the stock market. So let’s go through it. Seventy-five percent of millennials do not have life insurance simply because they cannot afford it. And when they are struggling to make rent in the present, they don’t necessarily want to think about investing in the future.

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As far as stocks go, only 13 percent of millennials told Barron’s that they would invest in the stock market. Market experts think that this mainly has to do with witnessing a stock market crash at a young age. After seeing the effects first hand, they took stock of the situation and decided against making the investment.

22. Doorbells

Remember doorbells? Does the name ring a bell? For millennials, the idea of a doorbell is a thing of the past. The age group really just does not have doorbells anymore. And there are a few reasons for the doorbell’s silent downfall.

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First of all, many millennials are living in apartment buildings rather than standalone homes, where doorbells just are not a fixture. But even if there was a doorbell option, millennials probably would not use it. They are more likely to send their friends or family members a text saying they have arrived at their home rather than ringing the bell.

23. Cable Subscriptions

It is no secret that cable subscriptions are on the outs, and that millennials are playing a huge role in their downfall. Instead of buying expensive cable packages, the age group is, instead, relying on streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Even YouTube is now offering a cable alternative to its users for a lower price than cable.



Millennials are leading pretty busy lives and are typically tapped into the 24/7 stream of digital information, and so the idea of buying an expensive cable package in order to be able to watch shows live does not have the same appeal as it used to. Instead, with other services, they can watch their favorite shows anytime, on their own schedule.

24. McDonald’s

The Golden Arches are apparently losing their shine in the eyes of millennial customers. The McDonald’s drive-thru used to drive a supersize amount of people to the fast food restaurant, but younger customers just are not Lovin’ It anymore. And it seems not even Ronald McDonald can bring them back.

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Instead of flocking to the fast food chain, millennials as a whole are choosing healthier, fresher options. And with the rise of places like Chipotle, younger customers would rather customize their meals than pick from a list of limited menu options. McDonald’s has released a vegetarian burger in attempts to draw in the millennial crowd, but so far they have not seen the desired result. We’ll take this bad news with a side of fries.

25. Hotels

For some, the idea of ordering room service, having a maid come clean, and curling up in a lush hotel robe is part of the entire vacation package. For millennials, though, the ideal vacation checklist no longer includes hotels as an absolute must.

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Instead, young travelers are choosing to go for more “authentic” experiences. Sometimes the idea of living like a local means subletting an apartment or renting an AirBNB. The more frugal travelers are ditching luxury and headed straight to a hostel or even a farmstay. Regardless, millennials are in large checking out of hotels and typically picking the less expensive, more immersive options.

26. Golfing

For years, golf has been one of America’s unofficial pastimes. But today, the sport is not scoring a hole in one for most Millennials, as many consider the sport not to be on par with many of the other options that this age group has to entertain themselves during their down time.



There are a few reasons why Millennials are not teeing up at the golf course anymore. While some feel that the sport is a little overpriced or too expensive, others find the 18-hole sport to be a little boring. In the age of constant stimulation, driving a golf cart from one hole to the next does not seem like their idea of an enjoyable afternoon.

27. Bars of Soap

Millennials are cleaning their grocery lists of soap bars. The once popular hygiene product is becoming less and less common to see in the showers of Millennials across the country. But why are so many calling soap bars a wash?

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According to a MarketWatch report, 60 percent of Millennials feel that bars of soap are crawling with germs and would rather use body wash to clean themselves. And while 60 percent of Americans over age 65 said they would wash their face with bar soap, only a third of Millennials said the same. Strangely enough, while bars of soap are out, a viral trend of “soap cutting” is totally in. If you can’t use it, cut it, we guess.

28. Casual Dining

Millennials seem to have two modes of eating restaurant foods. Either they are ordering delivery off of Uber Eats or Seamless, or they are deciding to wine and dine themselves with a reservation at a nice restaurant. Sadly for places like TGI Friday’s and Applebee’s, casual dining options don’t fall into either category.

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According to market studies, sales at casual dining restaurants have been on the decline over the last few years. Some CEOs are pointing the fingers directly at Millennials who are no longer frequenting these fast casual spots. In the meantime, casual dining restaurants are looking for new ways to draw the Millennial clients back to their booth seating.

29. Department Stores

Department stores were once the center of the shopping world. These gigantic stores housed almost everything. Their floor plans included clothing from every designer, accessories, shoes, perfumes, makeup, and basically anything else imaginable. Does that concept maybe sound a little bit familiar? Well, it does to us as well, and that is the problem.

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It seems that the variety that once drew people to shop at department stores has now been replaced by something much easier: the Internet. Today, instead of spending hours at a department store, Millennials are choosing to get their one-stop shopping done right from the comfort of their own couches.

30. Lottery Tickets

As a whole, the Millennial generation are struggling financially. According to CNBC, 62 percent of Millennials report that they are living paycheck to paycheck. So some might think that a little gambling in the lottery might be beneficial for Millennials trying to score a large paycheck. But think again.

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Millennials are looking at the odds of actually winning a large lottery windfall and deciding the gamble just is not worth it. In a Gallup survey in 2016, only about 33 percent of Millennials said that they played the lottery the year before. Over 61 percent of people from 50 to 64 said they had purchased a lottery ticket within the last year. So odds are that anyone who is a Millennial probably isn’t taking the gamble.

31. Fast Food

It is not just McDonald’s that is struggling to get Millennials into their doors. Fast food restaurants across the board are seeing a steep decline in their Millennial clientele, and that drop even carries over to their younger counterparts in Generation Z.

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32. Designer Clothing

Watch any early 2000s reality television show and any viewer is likely to see tons of brand named labels all over the stars. But although wearing designer names used to be on trend, that is no longer the case for the Millennial population.

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Instead, Millennials as a whole are deciding to spend their money more frugally on clothes and get their threads from places like thrift stores or fast fashion brands. The more economically and environmentally friendly generation would rather go to a clothing swap with their friends or a secondhand sale rather than dropping major dollars on designer brands and the price tags that come with them.

33. Wine with Corks

Ever bring some wine to a picnic or to another relaxing outing and realized that someone forgot the most important thing: a wine cork? Well, apparently Millennials have experienced this issue and know it all too well. Because of this, Millennials are overwhelmingly choosing to go with screw-off wine tops rather than the traditional corked bottles.

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Millennials as consumers are focused on having wine that is friendlier for bringing to friends homes or other gatherings. And judging by their buying habits, wines with corks do not fit that bill. Instead, Millennials are so much on the go that they need their wine bottles to match.

34. Motorcycle

In the United States as a whole, we just do not see motorcycles as often as people used to back just a few years ago. Overall, motorcycle sales have fallen over the last few years. But no age group has showed less interest in motorcycles than Millennials.

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There are a few reasons that Millennials give for being driven away from driving a motorcycle. First, the are a bit expensive, which explains why places like Harley Davidson have started introducing less expensive options. But Millennials complain that the upkeep of a motorcycle is usually just as expensive as the motorcycle itself. Overall, this age group just isn’t drawn to this method of transportation anymore.

Sources: AARP, Buzznet, Cheatsheet