Not All Millennials Dream Of Big City Life

Minneapolis SkylineAs Millennials come of age and graduate from college, they’re making decisions about where they want to live and put down roots. Watching shows like “Girls,” “I Just Want My Pants Back," “Men At Work,” “2 Broke Girls,” and even “Glee,” one would think that all Millennials are clamoring for their chance to make it in New York City. Putting aside the idea that “making it” is really more about simply surviving in the current economy, we had to wonder if most Millennials really are thinking that life in the big city is for them, so we asked nearly 1500 Millennials about where they see themselves living. The breakdown:

  • 41% want to live in a city, the bigger the better;
  • 40% say smaller cities are more their style;
  • 19% prefer small town life.

While slightly more Millennials want to live in a big city, nearly as many think smaller cities are for them. Small cities have been putting in a lot of work to attract young people. There are burgeoning art scenes, green initiatives (including steps to make small cities more walkable and bikeable), revitalizations of downtown areas… In many ways, smaller cities have many of the same attractions as big cities, without the high cost. But also without the name recognition.

There’s still something about telling high school and college friends that you’re living and working in a big city, but slowly, small cities are owning certain niches of cool — music, bike culture, fashion, and more. From Portland to Minneapolis to Detroit (yes, Detroit), creative and innovative young residents are upping their cities’ cool cache, drawing even more hip 20-somethings to move there and even brag about it. What’s more, Millennials have a better chance to get noticed and make their mark in small cities — both in their jobs and in their social sphere —…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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