Is the Stanley water bottle over? A Gen Z trend forecaster thinks so.

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Is the Stanley water bottle over? A Gen Z trend forecaster thinks so.
The Stanley 40oz straw Quencher, perhaps becoming uncool soon.Katie Notopoulos / Business Insider
  • The Stanley water bottle was the top item that teens got for Christmas, a trend forecaster says.
  • Casey Lewis watched hundreds of "haul" TikToks and saw the pricey water bottle over and over.
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It seems that we have hit peak Stanley cup.

The massive, colorful insulated Quencher cups have become an object not just of lust, but of madness for a large portion of well-hydrated millennial and Gen Z women.

Stanley is a company that has been making vacuum-sealed metal bottles since 1913. The 40oz "Quencher" cup with a handle and straw blew up in popularity in 2022, helped by blogs and influencers on social media.

On January 1, Stanley released a new magenta color for Valentine's Day. It's exclusively at Target — and a video of people ransacking the shelves where a hapless employee pleaded "Two per guest!" went viral.

@victoria_robino_26

#fyp #fypシ゚viral #target #targetfinds #stanleycup #stanley #stanleytarget #valentinesday #stanleyvalentinesday

♬ original sound - Victoria Robino

But is it possible that the trend is peaking, and Stanleys are on their way out?

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Casey Lewis, a youth consumer trends analyst who writes the newsletter After School, thinks that may be the case. I asked Lewis what she observed from watching hours of TikTok videos where Gen Z women (mostly) showed off their "Christmas haul" on December 26.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

What was the top item in these Gen Z Christmas haul TikToks?

Mini platform Uggs were wildly popular, and there was a ton of Lululemon, Brandy Melville, and expensive skincare — but nothing was more popular than the Stanley tumbler.

The vast majority of hauls included at least one Stanley.

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Was this a surprise, or did you expect it to be a popular item given how trendy it is? How long has it been trendy?

It was not a surprise that the Stanley was a popular gift; I did a similar haul report last year, and the Stanley was very popular then, too. What was surprising was the fervor a water bottle caused, especially among tweens.

When I was 11, I asked for dolls. Today's 11-year-olds asked for Stanley tumblers. I remember crying when I got an American Girl doll, so I understand that gifts can elicit emotional reactions in young people, but seeing Gen Alpha kids sobbing over water bottles is pretty surprising. At least the kids are hydrating!

What was the age range you were noticing most getting these Stanley cups?

Mostly college-age and younger.

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I first became aware of the Stanley cup as a sort of elder millennial suburban mom thing. (To be fair, this may reflect my own bias.) Is it possible this is a trend that trickled down from millennials to Gen Z instead of the other way?

Oh, that's interesting. Hmm.

It's definitely possible that it trickled down from millennial moms, though that kind of defies how trends usually play out — in my experience, most trends start with cool youth, and then once they trickle down (to younger kids) and up (to adults), the cool youth move on.

So in the lifetime of a trend cycle for a status item like a Stanley cup: Where are we in the cycle? Are they on their way out?

They are absolutely on their way out. This is peak Stanley. There's no up from here!

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What about how, like, middle schoolers suddenly having them makes it seem uncool for the older teens and 20-somethings?

Exactly that! It's like Drunk Elephant skincare.

When young kids and tweens adopt a trend or product, teens and older Gen Z distance themselves.

Uh oh, does this mean Drunk Elephant isn't cool anymore?!

Drunk Elephant isn't cool anymore. :/ In 2021, I interviewed Gen Zers about what skincare they were buying, and a 15-year-old told me Drunk Elephant is overhyped and for "12-year-olds that want to be 15-year-olds." Ouch.

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So what might be the next cool water bottle? Or will there even be another trendy water bottle? Maybe everyone will just drink from, like … a glass? Or will people move onto, like, status pencils or something?

It seems like the Owala maybe? That's the consensus in TikTok comments.

But honestly, I think you're right in that there won't be a next "It" water bottle. Because I think it's not about water bottles, really, now that tweens are into it.

I think now the Stanley trend is more like collecting Beanie Babies. It's a flex!

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