24/7 Wall St.: Consumer tastes are changing at a greater rate than ever before. Not surprisingly, the purchasing habits of the youngest generation present the most dramatic shifts — a reflection of what they find important. 24/7 Wall St. has identified eight popular products that the “Facebook generation” is not buying.
Generation Y, generally defined as those born between 1980 and 1999, have lost interest in many of the services and products their parents found important. For example, younger Americans are less interested in cars. In 1998, 64.4% of potential drivers 19-years old and younger had drivers licenses. By 2008, that rate had dropped to 46.3%, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
What young adults care about has shifted. A recent study by Gartner research revealed that, if forced to choose, 46% of all 18-to-24-year-old drivers in the United States would choose access to the Internet over access to a car.
However, many products that have declined in popularity among the youth are more a result of the changing tastes across all ages than a generational shift. Examples include lower sales in traditional cell phones, maps and CDs. In 2002, compact discs had a more than 95% market share of music sales. In 2010, they had less than half. Various reports suggest this decline is the result of all age groups moving away from CD sales toward digital sales.
24/7 Wall St. has identified eight of the country’s most popular products that are losing favor, either solely among young adults or at a significantly higher rate among that group. To demonstrate these products’ waning popularity, 24/7 reviewed data from a number of major research firms and government agencies. We looked at products in every major sector, including transportation, digital electronics, food, beverages and other miscellaneous consumer goods.