Millennials are abandoning bars at a higher rate than previous generations, according to a new study from Mintel, a global market research firm. Why? It takes too much effort to go out. In essence, millennials are lazy, the study insinuates.
The Internet thrives on these studies about millennials: We’re bad tippers and lack relationships skills, choosing avocado toast over homes for our nonexistent children. These anger-baiting headlines are traps to get our clicks. They’re practically hate reads, and millennials shouldn’t waste their time defending themselves.
But, every once in awhile, there’s no harm in schooling a study’s author. Consider this one of those times.
Despite finding that 55 percent of American consumers prefer drinking at home, Mintel chose to fault millennials. The headline reads: “28 percent of younger millennials drink at home because it takes too much effort to go out.”
But those baby boomers are game to hit the bar, the study says: Only 15 percent agreed that it’s taxing to leave their homes for a drink.
With its headline, the study disregards other, more interesting reasons that Americans have for staying in:
• Seventy-four percent of respondents said it was more relaxing to stay at home.
• Sixty-nine percent said they preferred to stay in because it was cheaper.
Still, the study chose to highlight how millennials are lazy. It feeds so easily into the negative perception of millennials. Never mind the fact that going out is expensive.
For those of us who live in cities where the cost of living is high, a 12-pack or bottle lasts a lot longer than a cocktail with a double-digit price tag. However, that’s not what the study or ensuing reports focused on. Instead, it seems to blame a generation for changing the culture. It sets up a funny paradigm: We can’t afford to buy homes or have kids, yet we’re supposed to sink our coins on booze? The moralists obsessed with our generation need to get their patronizing advice on the same page.
If you’re inclined to see the glass half empty, then consider "going out to bars” yet another casualty on the list of 70-odd items “killed” by millennials. In the same way the 1970s and 1980s affected how our parents handle money — and how the Great Depression affected older generations — those who survived the Great Recession likely have changed the way they look at their finances. Coupled with diminishing job prospects, student loans and shrinking wages, many millennials are still in crisis. There needs to be a more holistic approach to the way that millennials are studied so that it accounts for the economic changes now driving their decisions.
Stuff changes. That’s just how culture and society works. If it doesn’t, the culture stagnates and society feels frozen in time. Leaving out economic and historical context to how and why millennials are creating these changes is just bad social science.