Will These 5 Millennial Fads Stick or Fade Away?
by Devin Morrissey
New fads are always turning up, and with the internet and social media, we have a platform to share and participate in all the latest trends — no matter how short-lived they might turn out to be. Planking, the Ice Bucket Challenge, and Pokemon Go are among the fads that have come and gone, though they will always be part of our cultural history. Here are five of the most prevalent fads set in motion by millennials.
Love it or hate it, vaping is a growing industry. Initially seen simply as an alternative to traditional cigarettes, as vape culture and technology continues to evolve, vaping offers an experience that tobacco can’t. This includes a wide range of flavors like coffee, candy, fruit, and varieties of tobacco. Dedicated vapers can even create their own homemade e-liquid flavors.
It’s also worth noting that e-cigarette vapor is much less harmful than cigarette smoke. With fewer chemicals than a traditional cigarette, vaping can offer smokers a method of maintaining their habit in a way that is less harsh on their bodies. There are also nicotine-free options for smokers who are trying to cut down on their nicotine intake or enthusiasts who just enjoy the flavors and social aspects of vaping.
Though more places are introducing laws restricting where you can vape, it seems a loyal culture of vapers will continue to enjoy the vaping experience for a long time.
2. Streaming Entertainment
Having grown up with the internet, millennials are now at the forefront of a major change in how we view television and movies. More and more, people are turning away from traditional cable packages in favor of on-demand services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. The convenience of streaming services allows people to view their favorite shows and movies on nearly any internet-enabled device, and with a ton of original shows and movies within each service, users can look forward to quality programming, unique from what is available through a cable subscription.
One major issue that could diminish the success of streaming services in the future is that original programming currently has no system for syndication. This means that, unlike traditional television networks, streaming service providers can’t bring in additional revenue by selling the rights to their shows to other networks. This could prove costly in the future as streaming service providers continue to fund expensive projects as well as buying the rights to licensed programming from other networks.
Despite this challenge, streaming services continue to grow in popularity, and with over 130 service providers active today, it’s likely streaming services will remain an essential part of the entertainment industry.
3. Living With Your Parents
Trends in millennial moving patterns point to young adults living in their parents’ home longer than previous generations. The recovering economy has made it difficult for millennials to earn a livable wage on their own, and the rise in young adults pursuing college degrees only adds to their financial burden. For millennials, staying at home while attending college or until they find a stable job offers a cost-effective solution.
Though this is common for many, there is also a growing number of millennials who are buying homes. According to a report by the National Association of Realtors, young adults ages 25 to 34 accounted for 32 percent of homebuyers in 2015. This shows there is hope that the economy will continue to improve, which might afford millennials and future generations the opportunity to leave home sooner.
While playing video games may be a fun way to burn a few hours, it doesn’t seem likely that competitive gaming could garner the same level of dedication from their audience as traditional sports. However, a report by L.E.K. Consulting suggests that 40 percent of millennials actually prefer eSports to traditional sports. And if you’re imagining this is just for fun, know that eSports are expected to generate $696 million in revenue in 2017 with an audience of 385 million people around the world. These numbers are only expected to grow as advertisers come to realize the potential of reaching this massive global audience.
There’s really no doubt about this one. Esports are here to stay, and it’s likely we’ll see more and more sold-out stadiums full of gamers and spectators.
Of course, this one would have to come up. The art of taking a picture of your own face has been trending since the mid-2000’s, when MySpace encouraged users to display a picture of themselves on their profile. This gave way to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other platforms fit for selfies. According to a 2015 report, whether it’s to show off a good hair day, a cool place you’re visiting, a celebrity encounter, or just to show people the faces you make while you’re driving, 93 million selfies are taken every day.
Selfies are often associated with narcissism, and our obsession with getting just the right shot has driven some people to risk their lives and even attempt suicide. However, selfies can also have positive effects. Researchers found that people felt reflective, mindful, and confident when they took photos of themselves smiling naturally. There are also selfie movements based around body positivity in which people take pictures of themselves without makeup or in clothes that aren’t generally considered acceptable for their body type in order to encourage others to accept themselves.
The structure of most online profiles seems to demand some level of selfie indulgence. And while there are negative aspects to selfie culture, there is also potential for good. We just have to be intentional about how we participate in this trend.
It’s difficult to say for sure what will stick and what will fade. Though it’s safe to say millennials have contributed to the rise of a lot of innovative (and sometimes strange) trends that have changed the way we interact with the world. Even the fads that have fallen behind have expanded our expectations in order to make room for what’s next.
Devin Morrissey writes from his garage, where he occasionally takes breaks to fix his friends’ cars. He outlines his articles with his dog, Scrummy, who is the best soundboard a man could ask for. You can follow him on Twitter, if you want.