Understanding millennial ‘joy of missing out’

From 'plantfluencers' to on-demand furniture, new research by WGSN outlines the impacts of the demo's rising interest in staying in.

For millennials, staying in is the new going out.

New technologies and on-demand services have made it easier to stay home, and many younger people are embracing that lifestyle, according to a new report by consumer research firm WGSN. For example, Mintel research from 2018 that found 28% of younger millennials prefer to drink at home “because it takes too much effort to go out,” compared to 15% of boomers.

As brands have embraced another trend – helping lull consumers’ stress at a time of heightened anxiety – the home has emerged as “a sanctuary for stressed millennials seeking moments of peace and calm,” notes the research firm’s report. In fact, whereas the demo was once said to be characterized by FOMO (a “fear of missing out”), many now identify with the opposite sentiment, JOMO (a “joy of missing out”).

Millennial’s willingness to forego out-of-home activities is expected to impact a number of industries, from food and beverage to home furnishings.

For one, the restaurant biz is poised for continued disruption, as food delivery apps and meal kit services continue to grow in popularity. Globally, the food delivery market is expected to explode from USD $35 billion in 2017 to $365 billion come 2030, representing a CAGR of 20%. That growth will likely be shared among other businesses tapping the burgeoning market, including grocery delivery services and supermarkets replicating the meal kit offerings of DTC competitors, like Blue Apron.

The home interiors industry will also be impacted, considering many consumers are now holding off on buying a home due to various economic factors. In addition to living in smaller spaces, the demo views furniture as “less of a long-term buy,” writes WGSN. Instead, they are looking for “space-saving, landlord-friendly options that are affordable yet stylish.” One brand that has embraced that opportunity is U.S.-based The Inside, whose customizable products are made on demand with short lead times and at affordable prices.

Moreover, the report suggests that indoor air purifier and bioplastics are emerging markets to watch, as climate change continues to dominate much of the CSR conversation (especially among millennials). In the end, companies will be forced to consider the impacts of their last-mile deliveries, and those who succeed at offering green and sustainable home delivery options are likely to win with eco-conscious consumers.

As the global sustainability market increases to USD $53 billion from 2022 (up from $24 billion in 2016), WGSN suggests brands should look to a new crop of influencers in sustainable living (see the “plantfluencers”) and to experiment with zero-waste and renewable packaging. Lush, for instance, has introduced a 40-range packaging-free foundation line made of vegan ingredients, while L’Oreal launched a new sustainable label called Seed Phytonutrients in 2018.