Five things that will become obsolete, courtesy of you-know-which generation

Five things that will become obsolete, courtesy of you-know-which generation
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How many times today have you come across the term “millennial”? Indeed, millennials are often discussed in the context of consumption, marketing, or workplace revolution. The fact that India’s 400 million millennials—those born between 1982 and 2004—account for a third of the country’s population validates the excessive interest in this generation.

The key force behind the country’s mobile revolution, millennials are empowered by their disposable income, connectivity, access to information, and unique set of priorities. According to a Morgan Stanley report that surveyed and analyzed the habits of India’s millennials, the sheer number of 18 to 35-year-olds makes them influential in the country’s economic future. It also states that their influence could far exceed their numbers.

As the market pivots to serve millennials, trends indicate that these five things are likely to grow obsolete.

The nine-to-five work week

Some might consider it an undoing of the previous work culture that didn’t support work-life balance. Others might see it as an affront to old-school professionalism. Regardless of what you make of it, millennials are changing workplace dynamics. The predominant millennial desire for fulfillment-driven careers rather than need-driven careers is changing dress codes, hierarchies, and even the formal demeanor expected in the workplace. This doesn’t mean that millennials don’t want to work. On the contrary, they want their work to count: It doesn’t matter when or where they work from as long as the work is done. If the trend continues, we will observe the emergence of fluid work structures such as flexi-hours or freelance, banishing the nine-to-five work week.

Watching TV… on TV

With every bus or train ride—or even in our own living rooms—it is clear that more and more people are watching entertainment content on mobile phones, tablets, and laptops instead of televisions. According to Vuclip’s 2016 Global Video Insights Report, 85% of viewers in India consume video content on smartphones. While freshness, variety of content, and absence of commercials are huge factors in luring millennials away from TVs, another reason is that smaller screens are mobile, private, and extremely accessible—thus more conducive to the preferred way of viewing, binge-watching. While the TV will always be there for big-budget shows or sports, it will likely lose its relevance among younger viewers.


The peer economy or share economy has already proven to be a successful concept with the millennials who approve of its many benefits. Share economy pioneers have integrated their platforms and services into the daily lives of this generation… and it’s paying off. Sharing is not just limited to assets like cars or property, but also everyday things. Millennials no longer own music or movies: They stream their music and borrow their clothing collections. Will the concept of ownership be wholly debunked by millennials? Maybe not. But ownership’s grip certainly seems to be loosening.

Processed food

Millennials would rather pay more for locally and sustainably produced food. From “cruelty-free” meat to farm-to-table restaurants, the popularity of organically grown products implies that most millennials are conscientious eaters. In India, growing health consciousness among millennials means that the organic food market is projected to grow at 25% CAGR from 2015-2020. If the future is green with vertical agriculture, low-carbon items, and unprocessed food, will processed food in cans and plastic casings hold its place on market shelves?

Cash and cards

In 2016, China’s mobile payments hit $5.5 trillion—roughly 50 times the size of America’s $112 billion market. According to a Business Insider Intelligence study, in the US, 40% of millennials would give up cash completely. The tech-savvy generation prefers to bank on desktop or mobile and is open to non-traditional modes of payment. Indeed, a cashless economy offers mobility, convenience, flexibility and ease of transactions, making physical cash or cards look extremely unappealing to a generation that has grown up with mobile technology. According to a Google-Boston Consulting Group study, India’s digital payments industry will grow to $500 billion by 2020, contributing 15% of GDP. Indian millennials have the option to use digitally-crafted wallets offered by telecom giants like Airtel, promising the fastest and most secure way to make transactions. Moreover, Airtel Payments Bank has integrated Unified Payments Interface (UPI) on its digital platform, allowing customers to make secure digital payments to online and offline merchants.

Imagine a future that doesn’t need you to carry exact change or one in which debit card pins will no longer test your memory. As services like My Airtel App revamp their offerings according to the generation that is proving to be an enormous force for socio-economic change, physical cash and cards might lose their share of wallet.

To go cashless or even card-less, click here.

This article was produced by Airtel and not by the Quartz editorial staff.