A sign of the death knell of the post-recession, Make-it-Do-Again era, many major retailers have recently begun offering basic life skills classes and online tutorials for young adults who never learned DIY things as simple as how to use a measuring tape and need YouTube videos to show them how. Yes, really.
This week, the Wall Street Journal reports that some of America's biggest names in retail are shifting their marketing strategies to include education for the 4.8 million young Americans aged 26 and younger (the post-Millennial generation) whom research has shown are lacking assumed domestic knowledge as basic as "plants need sunlight."
"These are simple things we wouldn't have really thought to do or needed to do 15 to 20 years ago," Jim King, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. told the WSJ. "But this is a group who may not have grown up putting their hands in the dirt growing their vegetable garden in mom and dad's backyard."
Other brands such as Williams-Sonoma, West Elm, and Home Depot are creating entire marketing strategies and educational centers in their stores, on their websites, and in their social media to address the skills gap (and hopefully increase sales in the process) in a way that this generation would rather learn to DIY anything: via a YouTube video, like this one from Home Depot.
John Goldbach, an executive at Stoner Inc. — a Pennsylvania-based company that makes various brands of household and automotive cleaning products — said that online sales jumped 20 percent after his company developed basic training videos for products like paint and varnish removers.
The WSJ calls out the fact that many millennials and younger adults would now rather pay someone to do the work for them than DIY — and as far back as two years ago, Forbes reported a disturbing trend from their Boomer and Gen X parents, who were simultaneously feeling guilty about not taking the time to teach their kids how to check their oil or how to mow the lawn but yet delegating the responsibility for correcting it by advocating for the return of mandated "home ec" and shop classes in schools.
Hopefully, these retail brands can help young adults help themselves, if only for profit — or millennials and younger Americans will save themselves due to the fact that they currently use our public libraries more than any other generation.
Because, in addition to DIY skills, these millennial experts show that the majority of young adults don't even know how to cook for themselves — let alone drive stick, write in cursive, sew a button back on a pair of pants, or navigate with a paper map.
Guys: How are you going to survive the Zombie Apocalypse?