But, in 2018, failing to win over millennials can mean the difference between growth and death for an industry.
Millennials are growing up, moving out of their parents' homes, and having kids of their own. But, their tastes still don't necessarily line up with those of the generations that came before in some key ways.
From napkins to motorcycles, here are the industries that have been hit hardest by millennials:
18 industries where millennials are wreaking havoc
18 industries where millennials are wreaking havoc
Casual-dining chains like Buffalo Wild Wings and TGI Fridays
However, the fact remains that brands such as Buffalo Wild Wings, Ruby Tuesday, and Applebee's have faced sales slumps and dozens of restaurant closures as casual-dining chains have struggled to attract customers and increase sales.
Couples are increasingly ditching banquet halls and hotel reception rooms in favor of unconventional venues such as barns and farms, according to a survey from wedding website The Knot.
In general, weddings — from venues to dresses — are becoming more casual. Wedding planners told Business Insider that many clients are getting married later and funding their own weddings, meaning they don't have to stick to their parents' traditions.
"Ten years ago brides and grooms were relying on their parents to solely fund weddings," said one planner. "Now people are empowered by doing what they want to do and they want it to be a reflection of who they are."
Millennials simply aren't drinking as much beer as generations past.
According to Euromonitor, mayonnaise sales fell 6.7% in the US between 2012 and 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported. The Journal reported that brands like Hellmann's and Kraft have had to slash prices to keep shoppers interested, with mayonnaise prices falling 0.6% from the first quarter of 2017 to 2018, as overall packaged-food prices increased by 1.6%, according to Nielsen data.
"Condiments are more competitive than they've ever been," Jennifer Healy, head of marketing for the Heinz brand, told the Journal. "Ten years ago, it was much more simple."
The "starter homes" market
Millennials are finally buying homes. A 2017 report from the real-estate website and app Zillow found that millennials — i.e., people between the ages of 18 and 34 — are the largest group of homebuyers in the US. However, it took them longer to get to this point than other generations.
"As a result of limited starter-home inventory, they're renting longer. And when they buy their first home, they're buying a much nicer home than a prior generation," he said during an interview with Business Insider's "This is Success" podcast.
"I mean, many people are basically skipping starter homes; they're renting until their 30s, and that first house they buy is a million dollars, and they just are not even buying the $200,000, $300,000, $400,000 home, which is a total mind shift as compared with previous generations. So they're still buying homes — they're just buying them later and buying them bigger."
Department stores like Macy's and Sears
As millennials flock to e-commerce sites and fast-fashion brands like H&M and Zara, department stores such as Macy's and Sears have suffered, closing hundreds of stores across the US.
Part of the reason is that when millennials do spend money, they're spending more on experiences like restaurants and traveling. Millennials are less drawn to aspirational, designer brands, and they're perfectly happy saving money by buying private-label lines, which further hurts traditional department stores.
According to Gillette, studies show that the average number of times men shave per month has fallen from 3.7 to 3.2 over the last decade. As a result, razor-industry sales fell 5.1% by June, compared to the year prior.
Fertility hit a record low in 2016, bringing the rate among women ages 15 to 44 to 62 births per 1,000 women. And, that's creating issues for industries aimed at babies and children.
"Most of our end-customers are newborns and children and, as a result, our revenues are dependent on the birth rates in countries where we operate," Toys R Us wrote in its 2017 annual filing, prior to filing for bankruptcy. "In recent years, many countries' birth rates have dropped or stagnated as their population ages, and education and income levels increase."
Hooters has struggled to win over millennials for some time now. In 2012, the chain attempted to revamp its image with updated decor and new menu items to attract more millennial and female customers. Earlier this year, the chain announced plans to boost sales by expanding its delivery business.
Instead, younger consumers are turning to convenient options that can be eaten on the go with minimal cleanup, from yogurt to fast-food breakfast sandwiches.
While millennials have created new fitness crazes, like SoulCycle and barre classes, golf has failed to capture their interest in the same manner.
Golf participation in the US declined 1.2% in 2016, according to a 2017 report by the National Golf Foundation. Sales also fell, totaling $3.57 billion in 2017, down from $3.6 billion in 2016. The Business Journals reported that the number of golf courses and country clubs in the US has reached a 10-year low.
"From the golf industry statistics, we know that rounds are down," Matt Powell of the industry-research firm NPD said in a video in 2016. "We know that millennials are not picking up the game, and boomers are aging out. The game is in decline."
"Our data suggests the younger Gen Y population is adopting motorcycling at a far lower rate than prior generations," AB analyst David Beckel said in a 2017 note downgrading its rating of Harley-Davidson shares from "outperform" to "market perform."
Harley-Davidson is debuting new models and partnerships in an attempt to attract younger Americans to the brand.
"Younger people aren't taking up motorcycles like they used to, and that's led to a long slide in the size of the market in the US, which is already quite competitive," Business Insider's Matthew DeBord reported in July. "The Harley image of open-road freedom doesn't necessarily dovetail with the enthusiasm of millennials for city living."
A UBS report from earlier this year estimates that by 2030, online food delivery could command 10% of the total food-services market. And, that could spell bad news for companies known for their ready-made or home-prepared meals, such as General Mills and Kraft Heinz.
"At scale, ubiquitous on-demand and subscription delivery of prepared food could potentially spell the end of cooking at home," the UBS report states.
Plain old "spoonable" yogurt is being swept aside for newer variations, with Mintel predicting a 5% decline in overall sales from 2017 to 2022. General Mills reported in September that yogurt sales dropped 2% in the US in the most recent quarter, due to declines in Greek and light yogurt sales.
Instead, General Mills is turning to up-and-coming types of yogurt to boost sales, such as "French-style" Oui by Yoplait.
"In July, we added our presence in simply better yogurt with YQ, a new yogurt made with ultra-filtered milk that appeal to modern weight managers, seeking high protein, less sugar, simple ingredients and great taste and is 99% lactose-free," CEO Jeff Harmening said in a call with investors.
Bar soap sales fell 2.2% from 2014 to 2015, a time when the rest of the shower-and-bath category grew, according to Mintel.
And, millennials are at least partly to blame.
"Almost half (48%) of all US consumers believe bar soaps are covered in germs after use, a feeling that is particularly strong among consumers aged 18-24 (60%), as opposed to just 31% of older consumers aged 65-plus," Mintel wrote in a press release.
The Post points to a survey conducted by Mintel, which highlights that only 56% of shoppers said they had bought napkins in the past six months. At the same time, 86% surveyed said they had purchased paper towels.
Paper towels are more functional than napkins and can be used for more purposes. And the Post noted that millennials are more likely to eat meals outside of the home, contributing to the decline.