A new trend emerged when the millennials started to get jobs and earn money. They started patronizing small shops. The digital age transformed entire landscapes of different industries worldwide. As many businesses scaled their processes to accommodate the fast-growing internet craze that entranced many millennials worldwide, a shift regarding preference became noticeable. More and more people started becoming fans of small-scale and laid-back shops.
Whether it is retail or food, it became a reality for large businesses that what used to work didn’t for this new and upcoming generation. In 2020, a Business Insider article came out describing how millennials were killing everything — from old businesses to old capitalist structures. Old wealth is slowly transforming to dust.
Why is that?
The Millennials Hate Structure
Maybe it is the way they were brought up; maybe it was the establishment. A noticeable trend involving millennials is that they are mainly against structured activities and things. It is not all-encompassing for millennials, but they actually hate structures. From the corporate workspace to the coffee shop conglomerates, millennials slowly realize the disadvantages of having structures.
Structures control one’s freedom and one’s life. It is the reason why the youth rebels — they do not want someone else deciding for them. The older generation had high hopes for the younger ones. Because they aspired and dreamed so much for the millennial generation, they forgot to give them their own identity. To vicariously live through them, they slowly killed the millennial dream. Not everyone wants to be controlled. Not everyone wants to live their lives according to someone else’s plan.
The Millennials Are Fighting Inflation
The Baby Boomer generation had it easy. Millennials are facing one of the most difficult living situations ever in recorded history. While we do not face world wars or decades of continuing adversity, millennials seemingly face eternal debt and high interest rates. Baby Boomers always say that working a simple job will get people through college debt, mortgage, and medical loans.
However, millennials nowadays barely scrape by working multiple jobs. The disadvantage lies with inflation. Costs are always rising exponentially. But the salary is only increasing at a meager rate. They can barely afford stuff now. Most millennials are living underemployed and are working for scraps. Even those with tertiary degrees are not progressing in life.
The Millennials Are Nostalgic and Sentimental
The millennials have a love-hate relationship with their childhood. While most are claiming to have lived through unremarkable or emotionally abusive (through control) childhoods, a lot cannot forget the happy times of the past. Millennials are nostalgic and sentimental for things they rarely got when they were children.
The reason mom-and-pop shops, vintage stores, and homemade bakeries are gaining traction is that these businesses remind them of a simpler time. The world we live in now is hectic. There is simply no time to rest and relax. They can only re-live some parts of their childhood by patronizing something from their past. Through small bites of consuming decades-old cookie recipes, they can look back to when everything was much simpler.
The Millennials Hate Capitalism and Everything It Represents
The young people hate capitalism. Capitalism represents everything that is destroying the world we are living in right now. From environmental issues to obesity, mass-production to customization, and batches to uniqueness, capitalism tends to erase the individual. Capitalism erases the individual and combines multiple persons up to become a pseudo-person, a corporation. Capitalism has removed the value of being unique.
The reason millennials patronize unknown brands is that they offer something else that huge manufacturing corporations cannot. It is the reason why your local galaxy hops drink and brewery are more famous in your college circle compared to your average Budweiser light distributor. This is the reason why food trucks rake in thousands of dollars a night. These small businesses offer heart, above all else. Enterprises such as these represent their belief in themselves.
The Millennials Want to Stay Unique
The youth want to be taken seriously, yet they want to be recognized forever as the generation which struggles. Youth is wasted so much on being controlled and being manipulated into getting things you don’t need or, sometimes, don’t even want. Millennials patronize unknown and/or generic brands because they want to be reminded that their generation is unique.
The millennials want to be the generation that doesn’t conform to the norm. In the unbranded can more opportunities be found compared to old, exploitative, and established brands. Millennials want that novelty of being unique because the world is telling them to conform instead.