Following the announcement that parent company Toys “R” Us will close all of its U.S. stores in 2018, Babies “R” Us says it will be forced to kill all of the babies it cannot sell within the next 30 days.
“Unfortunately, we have to liquidate all of our assets, and we have nowhere to store our excess stock of children four and under,” said CEO David Brandon. “On the bright side, they will be marked down as much as seventy-five percent, which is a better deal than you’ll ever find on Amazon.”
The company cited declining baby purchases among millennials as one of the top reasons for its bankruptcy. But Babies “R” Us is only the most recent victim of a deeper problem. According to Census Bureau data, millennials are half as likely as previous generations to purchase their babies from a brick-and-mortar store.
“We’ve seen a huge shift in consumer baby-buying patterns,” said economist Leonard White. “In the past decade, over ninety percent of offspring were either purchased online or leased on two-to-three year contracts.”
White says the proliferation of baby-sharing apps has also caused a shift in child rearing practices. Many millennials are now opting for a social media-only relationship with their child. Apps like Infantgram allow users to post pictures of babies that are legally theirs, but that they don’t actually have to interact with in person.
“OMG I love Infantgram,” said lease-mother of three Carlene Holmstead. “If one kid doesn’t get enough likes, I can just trade him in and rent another one.”
White says that even the babies that do get bought often find themselves underemployed.
“As old as age three, most of these babies are still living at home, milking off their parents’ teat,” he said.
Added CEO Brandon, “I guess babies are just one more thing that millennials are killing.”
Mason Bube contributed to this article.