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When it comes to major changes in consumer industries – good or bad – Millennials always seem to get blamed. This generation (ages 24-41 in 2018) is known for being more progressive than previous generations and is open to fresh ways of approaching systematic norms. When an industry’s old guard sees a disruption, Millennials are often viewed as the demographic that is responsible for the sea change.

Over the last year, Mintel analysts have discussed this generation at length with the global press. So, who are Millennials in 2018?

Millennials are…not leaving the house

(US) Millennials are too lazy to go out. 28% of younger Millennials drink at home because it takes too much effort to go out. From faux outrage to lengthy editorials defending the scrutinized generation, there was no bigger story that encapsulated how the media envisions Millennials in 2018.

(US) Millennials are redefining what it means to cook from scratch. 80% of Millennials cooked from scratch at least occasionally in 2017, up from 67% in 2015. However, what qualifies as cooking a meal varies among consumers. More men and younger adults feel like they’ve cooked a meal when they’ve used a microwave or a toaster oven.

Millennials are…killing everything

(UK) Millennials are killing alcohol. Usage of lower-alcohol drinks is significantly above average for 18-34-year-olds (41% vs 23% of Brits overall). A sizeable 61% of Brits believe getting drunk is “uncool,” declining to 41% of 18-24-year-olds and 47% of those aged 25-34.

(US) Millennials are killing the body hair stigma. 59% of women between 18-34 are interested in trying subscription services. Since our blog post on ending the female body hair stigma was published, brands have been offering formulas that maintain and even nourish female body hair for those who choose to keep it.

(US) Millennials are killing Thanksgiving. Tiny turkeys that weigh six pounds are replacing the oversized bird that Americans were once accustomed to. “Food waste is becoming an increasingly concerning issue,” said Michael Averbook, a food and drink analyst at Mintel Group. “Leftovers are part of the fun and tradition of the holidays, and this may be a small step for individuals to feel less wasteful and socially responsible.”

(US) Millennials are killing canned tuna. 32% of consumers aged 18-34 recently bought canned fish or shellfish, compared with 45% of those 55 years old and older. While some have pointed to the lack of can-openers and laziness, others have connected the dots to Millennials’ preference for fresher and less processed food.

Millennials are…spending on that special something

(UK) Millenials are spending all their money on pets. 54% of Millennial pet care buyers say they’d prefer to cut back spending on themselves than on their pets, while 30% of Millennial pet care purchasers say they like their pet to keep up with the latest trends (eg clothes, grooming styles). Special occasions are also a main draw, with 40% of Millennials spending just as much money on their pet at special events (such as Christmas or their birthday) as they would on a friend.

(US) Millennials are spending their money on houseplants. Whether it’s decorating the home, Instagram fodder or an alternative to a pet, Millennials are reviving the houseplant market.  Millennials are also citing environmental reasons, with 52% of home owners claiming to use houseplants to counter pollution.

Millennials are…cautious

(US) Millennials are cautious of credit cards. Younger consumers are growing more comfortable with credit card debt but aren’t warming to it the same way prior generations have. Many Millennials believe that credit cards can be a useful tool, but are wary of actually using them. One of the main reasons for this is college loans, a monthly payment that eats into monthly budgets for years. Young consumers also prefer to use debit over credit cards, often relying on debit cards to avoid credit card debt.

(UK) Millennials are afraid to touch raw meat. UK supermarket Sainsburys introduced touch-free packaging to help Millennials who are afraid to touch raw meat, citing 40% of young cooks prefer not to handle raw meat, compared with a little more than a quarter of the broader population.

How will Millennials disrupt things in 2019? Stay tuned as we continue to track the developments of this dynamic generation and what they mean to product innovation, purchasing habits and industry trends.

Over Millennials? Fair enough. Mintel also provides extensive coverage of iGens/GenZ, the next generation poised to be an even bigger challenge for marketers.