Millennials and Gen-Z: Generations that set trends


By FAYTHE REEVES, Staff Reporter |

Accused by economic experts and business publications of killing industries from napkins and bar soap to starter homes and casual dining, young people in the millennial generation and generation Z have taken the blame for lost sales. 

In reality, the cause of sale declines lies more in the lack of money and the increase in technology, according to Amarillo College faculty members.

Mark Nair, a business administration instructor, said that brick and mortar stores, or physical stores, are under tremendous pressure. However, unlike some economic experts, Nair said that he does not blame young people for this pressure.

“Mainly, that pressure is because of their overhead, particularly their rent and the cost of running a physical place,” Nair said.

Anna Jacobsen, a general studies major, said that she believes that physical stores are experiencing financial difficulties due to online stores.

“People now struggle to start a shop because of the dying brick and mortar stores,” Jacobsen said.

Dr. Elizabeth Rodriquez, a program coordinator for the psychology department, said that society in general, not millennials alone, has been causing the decrease in sales many physical stores are facing. She also said this is because of online stores being more popular.

“It is so much easier to shop online, to get things sent to you and then just send it back,” Rodriquez said.

Rodriquez also said that technology is the way society is going now. She does not approve of blaming it for the struggles industries are facing. “We developed it, saying that it will make things easier, but now we are blaming it because it’s making everything easier.”

Student debt and flat wages are what Nair blames for the decline in sales. He said that young people do not have the financial capability to spend as much as previous generations have been able to.

“When you look back at the financial crisis of 2008, that is going to be a little blip compared to the student debt crisis that’s about to happen,” Nair said.

Nair said he believes that millennials and generation Z are acting rationally under the financial conditions they have been given. He also said that he does not believe millennials are acting maliciously toward the industries they are accused of killing.

“They are not saying, ‘Ha-ha, we are going to destroy the napkin industry’ or, ‘We are going to destroy casual dining,’” Nair said. “I don’t think millennials are walking around and twirling wax mustaches. Instead they are just thinking, ‘How can I live the most effective life that gives me the happiest life with the little bit of money I have?’”

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