By Rhea Patel and Olivia Holmes
There is a general shift in asset ownership occurring among Generation Y, otherwise known as “Millennials”: they are buying many fewer capital goods than their predecessor generations. In fact, the reluctance of Millennials to buy capital goods such as cars, homes, and even printers, has noticeably increased in the past decade and now many experts question whether traditional industries will be entirely disrupted by this new consumption model.
Indeed, Millennials are still consuming the output of these assets, just with a different usage model: they would rather pay to use these assets on-demand, vîs-a-vîs services such as Über, Airbnb, and PrintWithMe. Millennials appreciate the flexibility of using a service when and where its needed, and not having to part with a large sums of money to purchase a capital asset.
At PrintWithMe, we have studied the natural consumption and ownership habits particularly in the printer category. Our research shows us that purchasing and owning a printer requires two behaviors that Millennials have a natural aversion to: devoting significant time to conduct a thorough comparison-shopping, and signing up to maintain a piece of equipment through its various stages of life-cycle. First, the arduous task of shopping for a printer requires learning about and comparing core attributes such as upfront cost, cost-per-page, print quality, speed, size, and eco-friendliness. Second, the average Millennial, primed on the ‘On-Demand’ model of consumption which requires little planning, does not have the patience to stay current with paper and toner/ink supplies .