Peg DeMarco

Peg DeMarco

Is the millennial generation so much different from generations before it? I’ll let you be the judge after reading the results of various polls and stories in this column.

First of all, millennials seem to be pumping the brakes on buying cars and, with that, purchasing gas. Many millennials are even deciding not to get their driver’s license. In the last eight years, the number of drivers age 18-25 was down nearly 25 percent.

Market experts explain that millennials are deciding to leave the cars in the lot. In urban areas, young drivers would rather use public transportation than take time to find parking. Throughout the country, millennials are using ride-sharing apps to get them from Point A to Point B. Either way, millennials are driving down automakers’ bottom lines, hence the increase in no-interest deals and marketing by automakers.

Switching gears, fabric softeners, of all things, seem to be getting a bad rap. Between 2007 and 2015, fabric softener sales dropped by 15 percent and with technology in washing machines becoming more advanced, and more fashion brands deciding to focus on comfort, millennials aren’t buying into the need of softened fabric.

Although it seems like millennials focus so much on keeping fit and healthy, it’s surprising that the number of people going to traditional gyms is declining. It’s not that millennials are skipping the workouts, but they’re choosing boutique gyms geared to certain types of workouts, for example, a CrossFit gym, a Pilates studio, a kickboxing class or anything else that they enjoy to make exercising fun.

And no more Wheaties or Froot Loops for millennials either. According to a New York Times survey, 40 percent of millennials said they do not eat cereal because it was too much of an inconvenience to clean up after eating it. Washing a spoon and bowl doesn’t seem like such an inconvenience to me, but I’m from the old school, enjoy my Raisin Bran, and own a dishwasher.

As home prices rise, many millennials are not able to afford buying their own homes. However, another reason is that they prefer a nomadic way of living and don’t want to put down roots in a certain location. In our ever-changing world, it may be smart to have the ease and ability to uproot and move if work or life calls for it.

People used to make a night out of heading to the theater, munching on buttery popcorn and watching a movie. Millennials (and yours truly) would rather stream a movie, curled up on the sofa in pajamas.

When is the last time anyone ate at a millennial’s home and there were napkins, cloth or paper, such as Vanity Fair’s dinner napkins?

According to consumer studies, 15 years ago, 6 out of 10 households bought napkins. Today, only 4 in 10 households have napkins on hand because millennials are much more prone to rip their guests off a piece of paper towel.

Landline phone, anyone? Surveys report that 66 percent of millennials live in a totally wireless home.

Forty-one percent have no landline phone (that number would be higher, but many internet and cable companies provide a landline for free), and 83 percent of millennials sleep next to their cellphones.

Do millennials buy lottery tickets? This generation is not enticed by any kind of clever lottery marketing.

A Gallup survey found that while 61 percent of people ages 50 to 64 played the lottery, only about one-third of people between the ages of 18 and 29 are doing the same.

Here’s a surprise — millennials are not teeing up at the golf course. While some feel that the sport is too expensive, others find the 18-hole game to be a little boring. In the age of constant stimulation, driving a golf cart from one hole to the next does not seem like their idea of an enjoyable afternoon. Not even the lure of a couple of half-price drinks afterward in the clubhouse carries enough weight to draw a crowd of millennials.

The good old favorite bar of soap, from Ivory to Zest, has even been scrutinized by millennials. According to a MarketWatch report, 60 percent of millennials feel that bars of soap are crawling with germs and would rather use body wash. And while 60 percent of Americans older than 65 said they would wash their face with bar soap, only one-third of millennials said the same.

Millennials are frugal when it comes to clothing. They enjoy shopping for clothes at thrift stores or fast-fashion brands. The more economically and environmentally friendly generation would rather go to a clothing swap with their friends or a secondhand sale than drop major dollars on designer brands and the price tags that come with them.

I have to agree with the millennials on this one because name brands never, ever impressed me, especially those ridiculously priced handbags (Chanel $261K, Hermes $120K, Lana Marks $255K, and the granddaddy of them all, the Mouawad ($3.8 million).

I can’t wear or carry anything with a good conscience that could instead feed a village.

Peg DeMarco is a Morganton resident who writes a weekly features column for The News Herald. Contact her at pegdemarco@earthlink.net.

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