Millennials and Gen Z have resurrected some surprising trends

Millennials revive instant cameras

I was quoted in a recent USA Today article! It discussed how Millennials and Gen Z are reviving products and practices that have declined in popularity in recent years (or decades). The list includes record players, Polaroid cameras, and even marriage!

Our youngest generations are often labeled as responsible—or even the catalyst—for the rapid decline of once-thriving industries. These include diamonds, motorcycles, casual dining, and even traditional beer brands. CGK research, however, casts doubt on some of these claims. In fact, Millennials and Gen Z may be bringing several declining trends back to life!

Polaroids and record players

Many Millennials and Gen Z have acquired a taste for vintage tech and hobbies. Despite being digital dependents, these generations are embracing pre-digital devices like Polaroid cameras. Per MarketWatch, the instant camera market will grow by $70 million over the next six years.

These kind of retro or vintage devices are really an opportunity to connect generations. My eight-year-old daughter Rya loves to talk about Polaroids and record players with her grandmother!

Per CNBC and MusicWatch, in 2017 just 27% of vinyl record consumers were age 36 or older. Also, vinyl sales increased by almost ten percent last year. These numbers suggest surging interest in records from Millennials and exceptionally price-conscious Gen Z.

CGK research indicates that digital dependency may influence these trends. Digital devices play a central role in the daily lives of Millennials and Gen Z. Older, analog technology offers a sense of novelty that younger generations don’t get from iPhones.

Marriage and libraries

Millennials appear to get divorced less frequently than some previous generations. Per a University of Maryland study, the U.S. divorce rate dropped 18 percent from 2008 to 2016. The study’s author attributed the drop almost entirely to couples under the age of 45.

Millennials wait longer to get married. They’re also more likely to hold undergraduate and graduate degrees. Some studies suggest that marriages with older, more educated partners may have a better chance of avoiding divorce.

Marriage isn’t the only “retro” practice Millennials are embracing. Per the Pew Research Center, 53 percent of Millennials reported using a library in 2017. While many visit traditional public libraries, some also use mobile libraries (libraries-in-a-van).

Other generations sometimes like to blame Millennials and Gen Z for killing industries. The truth is more complicated, and change comes in many forms. When younger generations turn away from one trend, they often embrace another. Leaders can benefit enormously from understanding these shifts!

How your organization can adapt to generational trends

Would you like to learn more about preparing your organization for Millennials and Gen Z as trendsetters, employees, and consumers? Contact us here. We’ll set up a phone call to see how we can be a resource to you. We offer customized keynote presentations, generational research, and more. We are passionate about unlocking the potential of every generation!

Gen Z Marketing & Selling Millennials


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