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If you’re born between 1982 and 2004, then you’re a Millennial. The title comes with some negative connotations, but there’s no denying the generation has already made its mark on the world. It’s the generation that’s redefining marriage, work schedules and how we connect with the rest of the world. Millennials are also the largest generation, which means they’ll be a driving force behind many trends in the coming years.

Here are some Millennial-led trends to watch out for in 2017.

Vaping Innovations

The last few years have made it clear that the vaping industry is on an upward swing. A significant contributing factor is the Millennial generation. People in this age group are less likely to smoke cigarettes, but they’re the largest customer base for vaping.


Millennials have helped vaping go mainstream, and now they’re pushing the innovation further. Everything from the cartridges to the e-juice is getting upgraded. For example, Millennial customers prefer vape juice in a diversity of flavors rather than a simple tobacco substitute. And vaporizers go well beyond e-cigarettes with countless accessories for customization. Clearly, the industry is moving away from replicating cigarettes and is set to replace them altogether.

Gap Years

Right now many of the youngest Millennials aren’t in college. They also didn’t go right into the workforce. Instead, they took a gap year. What’s a gap year? It’s a period of downtime (usually a year) between high school and higher education.

During the gap year, kids spend their time traveling, volunteering and exploring. The goal of a gap year is to help kids gain life experience and focus on finding their passion before they choose a major. It can also help teenagers transition into a more independent lifestyle. The trend has become so popular Millennial Malia Obama plans to take a gap year before starting at Harvard.

Flexible Work Schedules

As Millennials came of age so did technology that expanded the workplace. More and more companies are embracing flexible schedules that give employees control over their workweek. One of the biggest reasons employers are making the change is to attract top-performing Millennials.


A flexible schedule is a benefit Millennials are looking for while job hunting. They see no reason to shackle themselves to a desk in a specific location for a specified period of time. Millennials take a much more fluid, autonomous approach to work. Instead of pulling a 9-to-5 they’d rather work at any hour of the day and base performance on the work done rather than the hours put in.

Flexible work schedules are so important to Millennials, nearly half will take a lower salary in exchange for flex time. Some experts are estimating that when Millennials become half the workforce in 2020 upwards of half the jobs in the U.S. will be remote positions.

Self-Employment Will Continue to Skyrocket

Many Millennials aren’t just looking for a flexible schedule. They want to take complete control of their job by freelancing or consulting in lieu of a full-time job with a company. Millennials have a very entrepreneurial mindset. It’s only natural that they would prefer to be micro-entrepreneurs by running their own freelance or consulting gig. Millennial freelancers are making a mark in almost every industry and even developing the tools they need to work wherever they want. Not surprisingly, Millennials are behind many of the smart phone apps that have made remote work possible for more people.

This Millennial-driven trend is another way the generation is dramatically changing the workforce. It’s also created a totally new job market. In 2017 you can expect to see a rise in crowdsourced employees. Companies like Lionbridge Technologies Inc. are building rosters of freelancers and connecting them with big name businesses that have gigs available.

Living in a Public Bubble

Between noise-cancelling headphones, connected smart phones and virtual reality headsets it’s common to see Millennials that are in their own world in the middle of a crowd. Tech is being used connect us in amazing new ways, but we’re also using it to isolate ourselves. Millennials are the first generation of digital natives. They’re more likely to fully immerse themselves in new technologies, even if they cut off personal interaction. You can expect to see a continuation of tech accessories that help people create their own private bubble no matter where they are.

Food That’s Socially Responsible

Millennials take their food seriously. They have quickly become a driving force in food trends all the way down to the packaging. One clear influence the generation has had is increasing demand for socially responsible food. Millennials are buying fewer bottles of water and opting for reusable containers instead. They’re requesting more information on how food is produced so they can choose the most eco-friendly option. In response, food producers are now adjusting their marketing strategies to show how they operate behind the scenes. They are using eco-friendly packaging materials and processes. Of course, the food itself is also changing. You can expect to see the organic and locally grown options expand as Millennials get older.

Liz Becker

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