Adult Millennials With a Driver's License in the United States Is Steadily Declining But Are Drinking Craft Beer

January 2nd, 2015
in econ_news, syndication

by Nick Rojas

Adult millennials, those roughly 18 to 33 years of age, are an important demographic when it comes to marketing, but they aren’t acting much like their predecessors, which makes them a difficult group to address. For example, the percentage of 16 to 24 year olds with a driver's license in the United States is steadily declining. A peak of over 80% of youths were behind the wheel in the 80's and this rate has fell below 70% in 2011 and is continuing dwindle.

Follow up:


This has marketers and baby boomers such as myself scratching our heads. I can tell you for a fact, the day I turned sixteen years old and was eligible for a license, I was standing at the front door of the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) first thing in the morning awaiting my turn to take the test.

What is motivating this ironic group of youngsters? Is it rising gas prices? Environmental concerns? Are they walking and using more public transportation?

Driving a Different Type of Economy

Since World War II, the sales of automobiles and houses have driven the economy, but today’s millennials are often saddled with student debt and are more “tech-focused” in their spending. For example, this age group would rather part with their dollars to gain the newest technology in the form of a smartphone or tablet.

King of Beers: Meet The Cheapest Generation

Buying habits of this confusing demographic will only continue to challenge marketers. They are often being referred to as the “cheapest generation” since figures for purchasing new automobiles and homes for this group is also on the decline. But at the same time, they are willing to shell out more cash for smaller luxuries, like craft beers.

Budweiser, once known as The King of Beers, is losing serious ground in beverage sales to much smaller microbreweries and the makers of craft beers. According to statistics:

  • Collectively, craft beers sold more barrels than Budweiser in 2014.

  • A stunning 44% of people under the age of 27 have never even tasted Bud.

  • Most millennials have yet to experience a “keger” party once thought to be the norm of their college experience.

  • Sales of Budweiser have dropped from 30 million barrels in 2003 to 16 million in 2013.

Budweiser, once considered a classic American brand, is now owned by the Belgian beverage conglomerate, Inbev. Americans are also become more health-conscious, drinking wine or abstaining from the use of alcohol altogether.

At Least One Shared Addiction

While baby boomers, generation X and Y seem to have less in common with the rising millennials, we all still share a love of screen time. While in my day, youngsters were glued to their television sets, today’s youth are attached to their smartphones, tablets, notebooks and other handheld mobile devices. What was once sex, drugs and rock and roll has become smartphones, craft beers and rap music for many in this generation.

To each, his or her, own -- but today’s marketers will need to tackle this confusing demographic in order to move forward with their effective advertising campaigns. Successful marketing to this challenging generation will become more relevant with rising technology and less about the decline of more traditional approaches.









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