Ownership is over.

Here’s a short list of things that the next generation of consumers don’t have any interest in buying:

  • Homes
  • Napkins
  • Alcohol
  • Cereal
  • Canned tuna
  • Golf clubs
  • Cars
  • Yogurt
  • Soap
  • Diamonds
  • Fabric softener
  • Handbags
  • Pants
  • Stilettos
  • Pet food
  • Mayonnaise

It’s so shocking to these consumer goods industries how spending patterns have changed that headlines have been shouting “Millennials are killing (insert failing industry of your choice here)” every few weeks.

“Killing” these industries may be hyperbolic, but the truth is that life has changed thanks to technology and the rise of the sharing economy. Buying physical copies of movies and music has been over since Y2K. Car and home ownership no longer make sense.

Whether you need an apartment for a weekend, a car for a day, or a scooter for five minutes, access to things as a service is the new dominant paradigm.

Zuora, a software-as-a-service company that helps other businesses pivot to subscription models, released their Subscription Economy Index for October 2019 analyzing consumer trends around this shift to access over ownership.

They found that more than 70% of adults are using subscription services, a leap from around 50% five years ago, and a third of people polled (34%) believe they will be using even more of these services in two years.

Their End of Ownership survey of 13,000 consumers in 12 countries revealed that 74% of adults internationally believe that people will subscribe to more services and own fewer physical goods in the future, and more than 57% expressed a desire to “own less stuff,” which can be achieved through subscription access.

Rethink things.

Here’s a short list of things that modern consumers are definitely still interested in:

  • Computers
  • Phones and tablets
  • Wearables
  • Cameras
  • Gaming and VR gear
  • Home entertainment systems
  • Audio and music equipment
  • Drones
  • E-mobility products
  • Smart home tech

All these tech gadgets open possibilities to work, play, and get more out of life – we’ve known that access to tech is more important than owning it since before Grover was founded. The shift from “Ownership” to “Usership” seems obvious: you don’t have to own things to enjoy them.

For many of the industries that millennials have “killed,” there are new businesses in place to serve the same needs without the high initial costs and maintenance of ownership. Home ownership may be perpetually out of reach, but renting a place to stay has never been easier on Airbnb. Car sales have slowed globally, but rentals like car2go are more practical anyway. For fashion items like handbags, stilettos and diamonds, Bag Borrow or Steal, Rent the Runway and Switch have your short-term fashion needs covered.

Saying goodbye to ownership and hello to usership is only half the battle – we live by the motto to “Rethink things” because it’s not just about tangible, material stuff. Rethinking “things” means all things: making conscious choices about the products you need, rethinking where and how you spend money holistically, and considering what happens to these products when you’re done with them.

Things aren’t just things any more, tech products today are gateways to experiences, tools of your professional craft, and more essential to engaging with every aspect of modern life than ever. At the end of the day we aren’t just “users,” “consumers,” or even “subscription customers” – we’re all people doing more to get more out of life.