Every generation has unique trends and subcultures. Baby boomers and Gen Y were the most financially successful generation, and as a result, a lot of them have a lot of money to spend.
They had stable jobs, sufficient resources to buy new stuff, and they were less price-sensitive than more recent generations. Boomers liked to buy new things and show off to parents, neighbors, or friends.
Nowadays, social mores have changed. Less and less people meet face to face, visit their friends at homes, or even go to brick and mortar shops.
Technology has made the world different and changed the requirements of living for many people. Millennials are sometimes considered spoiled brats that can’t take no for an answer.
They are used to the technology and luxuries of the modern world. If that is the case, why are more of them turning to a more disciplined minimalist lifestyle?
Are Parents Everything?
Most millennials grew in stable and wealthy homes. They had anything they needed, and they didn’t have to work hard for their bikes or toys.
They were used to a lifestyle that didn’t require saving money for food and basic necessities. Things changed when the market collapsed.
Their parents spent more than they could afford, with terrible consequences on our economy. But the trends didn’t change – buying the newer, shinier things to impress others is still very much in vogue.
Some of the children from homes like that have learned about reckless money spending habits and the counterproductivity of the meaningless pursuit of the New Shiny Thing.
Millennials and Gen Z are the first generations facing an environmental catastrophe. Many people became ecologically conscious and are trying to make the world greener and cleaner.
When facing global warming, one must give up on some comforts and adjust habits to make the climate changes slower and less severe.
That’s why younger people are turning to second-hand shopping, recycling, or zero-waste living. More things are made DIY, not bought in giant shops run by corporations focused only on making money.
Big corporations are not only harming the environment but also interfere with local communities. That’s the reason why more young people try to shop in small local stores or quality driven companies.
For example, if some millennials would like to renovate their apartment they would more likely choose products from companies that care about the quality of their products and share similar values, no matter whether we are talking about chairs, wholesale flooring, or new lamps.
According to some studies, 75% of millennials said it’s more important for a company to give back something to society than to make a profit.
After years of brutal capitalism, society tends to return to the sharing economy.
With the help of technology, it’s easier and more convenient to rent or borrow something from a friend or even a stranger, than buy it yourself.
Thanks to smartphones and apps, we can find bikes, cars, books, etc., with the touch of a finger. It’s not only less expensive, but better for society and the environment. Ownership became redundant.
In the 21 century world seems smaller than it used to. With the internet, cheap flights, open borders, and home offices, people are less attached to their houses and cities.
There is no need for that competition older generations were accustomed to. Now, everything is about collaboration. Freedom of choice is what matters. Owning a lot limits this choice.
It’s more challenging to go to work in another country when you own a home full of stuff in your home city. It’s often difficult to find a job in one particular place, so it is required from modern workers to be able to move when needed.
Having a job became more important than having a house with a white fence. Readiness for a drastic change is considered to be one of the best features of an employee.
Services vs Products
As we have mentioned before, boomers care a lot about owning stuff. They liked to buy new things, and having progressively more was really important.
On the other hand, millennials care more about services than products. Minimalism doesn’t mean less spending money on everything. It means spending less on physical stuff.
They tend to spend more on better and more environmentally friendly food, but also traveling or online services, to name just a few.
The modern world has less time for fun. That’s one of the reasons why young people are spending more money on comforts and conveniences. The value of free time is more important than the value of Uber.
Homes are now more luxurious products than ever. Not many people can afford to buy flats, let alone a big house. With a less stable market, not many young people think about real estate.
On top of that, according to the Wall Street Journal, 88% of millennials would prefer to live in urban areas instead of suburbs or in a country.
Will This Trend Survive?
It’s hard to say for sure, but the environmental changes may cause all people to become more minimalistic. The awareness of consumptionism’s harmful effects grows bigger and bigger in each generation.
Gen X may depend even more on services than physical possessions. With the technology going forward so fast, a lot of things can become unnecessary.
Minimalism also helps with prioritizing what’s important in life and how to spend money in a way that will benefit them in the long run.