Seemingly out of nowhere, the large toy company Toys R Us has announced that it is going to declare bankruptcy by the end of the week. While this doesn’t mean that the company will actually be closing retail locations, it does mean that the once successful toy brand has taken enough of a hit that it is being forced to restructure. Many online publications have compared this failing business strategy to the fall of the once great Macy’s, which is another great example of a brick and mortar store that was once mighty but now has fallen. This bankruptcy doesn’t reveal any revelations about the state of physical stores, but it does reveal something about the future of shopping and American demographics.
Something that has been an inconvenient truth for too long is that the current young generation is not a sustainable one. The American economy has been based around people taking on debt, getting jobs to pay those debts off, and having children that will grow up to be workers and debt takers as well. This system wasn’t perfect, and generations of greedy people and horrible parents have turned it into one that no longer works. We’ve seen plenty of businesses slowly go out of business as younger people both don’t have the income to buy essentials, but also don’t have jobs that keep the economy going. The reality conservatives paint of millennials being a bunch leeches is actually too soft, as the newest generation is doing something worse than leeching. They are degrading the world in which we live, bucking authority, destroying culture, and worst of all not reproducing, which means there will be even less consumers in the near future.
Toys R Us has claimed that the only thing keeping them afloat has been their investment in digital frontiers. Items like tablets and game consoles are the only things that make money in these modern times, but even then those are one time purchases as software becomes something that is only bought online. We’ve also seen multiple game businesses and electronic stores go out of business despite video games being the most profitable entertainment industry. Knowing this, it isn’t that surprising that a brick and mortar toy store for young children isn’t doing too hot either, but it is still slightly depressing. Be prepared for brick and mortar stores to be replaced by corporate style, copy-paste stores, just like we saw happen to coffee with Starbucks, and with books in Barnes and Nobles. The need for these industries aren’t dying, they’re as important as ever, but the demographics who consume them are shrinking and have less resources than ever. These are realities that we have to face, and the market is going to shift to meet these new factors. Here’s hoping that the new Generation Z is as conservative as polls say they are, and they’ll be more employed and love-prone than the failure of a generation that Millennials turned out to be.