14 Things You May Not Be Able to Buy in 20 Years
Do you love your landline and treasure your Tupperware? Stock up on these items (and more!) now before stores stop selling them.
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Will your favorite products soon disappear?
As shoppers’ tastes change and new products enter the scene, many items are likely to disappear from store shelves within the next two decades. Soon “we may find ourselves brushing our teeth with wooden toothbrushes, reheating our lunches in glass containers only, and never being out of reach of a metal or glass water bottle,” according to Kimberly Palmer, a personal finance expert at NerdWallet. Experts recommend stocking up on the following products before they’re gone for good, along with these items to buy online while the dollar is strong.
Plastic water bottles
Bottled water was a huge hit for its convenience when it first debuted in the 1970s. But as consumers become aware of the negative impact that plastic has on the environment, “they will increasingly vote with their wallet by purchasing items that can be used repeatedly, like a Hydro Flask,” according to Palmer. There is also a budget-friendly bonus to buying reusable bottles: “While the initial cost may be higher, over time it saves consumers money because they last longer,” Palmer says. These must-have items will end up saving you money, too.
Say so-long to the days of losing your cumbersome keys. “Smart locks are becoming more and more prevalent, to the point where it was predicted earlier in 2019 that one in four homeowners would buy a smart lock this year,” says Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst at DealNews.com. While using smart locks is more common among homeowners than renters right now, Ramhold expects that landlords will jump on board within the next two decades. Unfortunately, that also means locksmiths could be among the jobs that are at risk of disappearing in the next 25 years.
For today’s health-conscious consumers, starting the day with a bowl of sugary cereal doesn’t have the same appeal that it once did. Thanks to the variety of breakfast options now available in grocery stores, many prefer to grab something more balanced, filling, or commuter-friendly than a bowl of cereal. As a result, sales for popular cereal brands like Kellogg dropped nearly 5 percent in 2014, the New York Times reported that year. Turns out, a shortage of cereal is not the only radical diet change you could see in the next 10 years.
Bans on single-use plastics are sweeping cities across the United States, and many American businesses have followed suit. In fact, Starbucks, American Airlines, and even SeaWorld are among the companies that have purged plastic straws in recent years. “Already restaurants are moving away from plastic straws because of their environmental impact,” Ramhold says. “In another ten or 20 years, I fully expect plastic straws to be hard, if not impossible, to find.” Even the royal family is on this eco-friendly trend—here’s why they banned straws from Buckingham Palace.
Sales of fabric softeners have struggled in the past decade, dropping 15 percent between 2007 and 2015. What gives? According to consumer analysts, millennials and other “eco-conscious” shoppers are wary of the potentially unhealthy chemicals found in fabric softeners. Others don’t buy fabric softener because they simply don’t understand what its purpose is. As the sales of fabric softeners decline, so too does the likelihood that we will see it on store shelves in 20 years’ time. Don’t waste your money on these everyday laundry products, either.
Have you recently scanned the headlines of a tabloid magazine while waiting to check out at the grocery store? Peruse while you can, because reading a print newspaper or magazine may soon be a hobby of the past. Since most people read the news on their phones or computers these days, many outlets are prioritizing their online presence instead. They now focus on offering paid membership access to their websites instead of distributing physical copies of their publications. Even worse, your daily habits might be illegal in the next 50 years.
If you have swiped your card on a Square device recently, it’s likely you received a receipt for your purchase via email rather than on paper. “This is definitely better for the environment, not to mention better for cutting back on clutter,” Ramhold says. On top of reducing unnecessary and harmful waste, the declining use of paper receipts also helps businesses eliminate a major expense from their budgets, according to Ramhold. For more eco-friendly inspo, check out the companies that are getting rid of plastic for good.
With companies facing consumer backlash and local bans on plastics, “it’s possible that many of the products we use every day now will be replaced with ones that are more efficient and more environmentally-friendly,” Palmer says. Food storage, for example, has started to move toward containers made of glass or stainless steel as opposed to plastic Tupperware. Not only is cutting back on plastic an eco-friendly choice, but research shows there is a hidden danger lurking inside BPA-free plastic products like Tupperware.
Think twice before tossing that plastic toothbrush. Single-use plastics like toothbrushes make up half of the almost 300 million tons of plastic produced globally each year, and they are nearly impossible to recycle. But thanks to the “huge backlash and public outcry against the amount of plastic that we use and discard every day,” plastic toothbrushes could soon be replaced by more sustainable ones made of wood, Palmer says. Want to try a plastic-free lifestyle for yourself? Find out what it’s really like to go plastic-free.
Point-and-shoot digital cameras
Now that smartphone cameras can take Instagram-worthy shots of everything from selfies to landscapes, point-and-shoot digital cameras are quickly becoming obsolete. You may still see professional photographers lugging around their full-size cameras, but the average Joe or Jill will most likely snap pictures of holidays and vacations using a pocket-sized smartphone instead. If you fall into the latter group, you’ll want to steal these genius tricks for taking an Instagramable photo on your smartphone.
Storing digital files was already moving toward a virtual system for years before Apple released new laptops without USB ports. But together, these two trends spelled the beginning of the end for thumb-sized data storage devices. Now, if you want to store your digital data somewhere for safekeeping, most tech experts would suggest putting it in a “cloud,” or an electronic storage space accessed via the Internet. Stay plugged in (pun intended!) with these products that experts predict will become “smart” in 2020.
When it comes to the financial decisions of today’s shoppers, “the overall trend is towards consumers being much more aware of the environmental impact of their choices,” Palmer says. Plastic bags are no exception. With a wide range of reusable shopping bag options on the market, their use has swelled in popularity among shoppers looking to reduce their plastic consumption. You should collect reusable bags with caution, however, because reusable shopping bags have their own set of cons.
Landline phones may soon be ancient relics—if they aren’t already—due to the increasing popularity of cellphones. While almost 43 percent of American households still used a landline phone in 2018, that number is steadily trending downward, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey. Safe to say that pretty soon, landline phones will be more commonly found in antique shops and museums rather than store shelves. Believe it or not, landlines are not the only product in your home that won’t exist in the next ten years.
Rumor has it that Apple will soon do away with charging ports on all of its products, relying solely on wireless charging instead. “If it does,” Ramhold says, “it’s almost certain that other carriers will jump on board.” Should this prediction actually come true, it could cause a big headache for those who use outdated tech devices, according to Ramhold. Rather than dropping cold hard cash on an upgrade, try these simple tricks to upgrade your old tech—no purchase required.