is minimalism dead

Is Minimalism Dead or Out of Style? An Objective View

Remember when it felt like everyone was tossing out half their wardrobe and turning their homes into echoey chambers, all in the name of minimalism? 

The time when “less is more” was the mantra, and owning more than five spoons was practically sacrilegious? 

But lately, there’s been a suspicious amount of color and clutter sneaking back onto our Instagram feeds. 

So, it begs the question: Is minimalism dead or out of style?

The data gathered shows minimalism is neither dead nor out of style.

What may be dead and out of style is social media influencers producing artificial noise about minimalism.

Interested how I came to this conclusion?

Then, follow along with today’s article, where I analyze various factors and data.

I will discuss… 

  • The assumption behind the question “is minimalism dead?”
  • Have people really moved past the alleged minimalist wave? The factors to consider
  • What the data is actually saying about minimalism being dead


The Assumption Behind the Question “Is Minimalism Dead?”

Wondering whether minimalism is dead or out of style is based on one assumption.

What is it?

That minimalism is some kind of trend.

And in my article about whether minimalism is overrated, I already established that it’s not.


It’s inspired by various cultures and philosophies (e.g., Zen Buddhism, Stoicism). 

So it’s been around the block.

While many associate minimalism with decluttering possessions, its principles extend to relationships, commitments, digital spaces, and many more. 

It’s about life design, not just closet design.


Have People Really Moved Past the Alleged Minimalist Wave? The Factors to Consider

is minimalism dead

I get what you mean. 

You may have seen Instagram photos or social media influencers mentioning minimalism and posting about it a lot.

And now, you may have the impression you hear less about it and thus conclude people have moved past the minimalist wave or that it’s even dead.

It’s understandable to conclude this (prematurely, though).

You may still remember when Instagram feeds were a haven of neutral palettes and empty spaces.

Now, it seems color, pattern, and gasp clutter are sneaking back in. 

Eclectic and maximalist designs are creeping onto our Pinterest boards, hinting at a change in visual appetite.

Then there is the rise of vintage shops, ornate furnishings, and bold fashion statements. 

You may find a resurgence of grandeur and excess in films, music videos, and art installations, a far cry from the “less is more” ethos.

Another factor that may influence “dying” minimalism is economies.

As economies recover or dive again, spending and saving behaviors shift. 

This may affect our affinity for minimalism (as you will later see, it doesn’t).

Sure, minimalism can often be eco-friendly, but there’s also a growing emphasis on sustainable consumerism

This means buying quality, long-lasting items that might not always align with the minimalist “buy less” mantra.

Then, there is also digital minimalism

It’s still a thing, with many seeking a break from screen saturation. 

But with the tech world producing newer, flashier gadgets daily, it’s a tug-of-war between embracing simplicity and the latest shiny toy.

Lastly, you may also see fewer people searching on Google for minimalism and more searching for maximalism-related topics.

This would indicate a decreasing interest.

Now, I’ve identified the factors that may influence the interest and demand of minimalism and, as such, can also affect minimalism dying.

You know already my answer right from the beginning that it’s not dying, considering the sizeable philosophical aspect of it.

But let’s just ignore that for a second.

We can also take a different data-based approach and see which factors can be measured.

And maybe it can even be proved that maximalism stole the spotlight.

So, which factors can we easily measure?

In my opinion, it’s the following:

  • Search trends on Google for minimalism and maximalism
  • Macroeconomic trends 

Why did I not mention social media platforms like Instagram and how much influencers use minimalism-related content or hashtags?

While it’s tempting to take their posts as gospel for what’s “in,” there are several reasons why social media, with its influencers, might not always be the most reliable compass for genuine, lasting trends.

Ephemeral Nature of Content: Social media thrives on what’s fresh. 

What’s hot today can be old news tomorrow. 

Remember the “Ice Bucket Challenge”? Exactly.

Sponsored Posts: That casually perfect photo of an influencer sipping a new tea brand? 

There’s a good chance they’re being paid to promote it. 

Sponsored content can create a veneer of popularity around a product or trend that doesn’t reflect genuine interest or staying power.

Echo Chamber Effect: Social media algorithms are designed to show users content similar to what they’ve already liked or engaged with. 

This creates an echo chamber, making it seem like certain trends are more widespread than they are.

Selection Bias: Influencers often portray a curated version of reality. 

Their feed does not necessarily reflect real-life trends but showcases what they want their audience to see.

Hashtag Bandwagons: A trending hashtag can sometimes be more about viral momentum than genuine interest. 

Some people jump onto trending hashtags just to gain visibility, not because they are genuinely interested in the trend.

Cultural & Regional Differences: An influencer’s audience is often specific to a region or demographic. 

What’s trending in one country or age group might not be relevant elsewhere.

Influencer’s Personal Brand: Many influencers have a specific aesthetic or brand. 

They might continue posting content that aligns with this, even if it’s not necessarily “trending” broadly.

Delayed Reflection: Sometimes, by the time influencers catch onto a trend, it’s already peaked in other circles. 

They’re not always the trendsetters we imagine them to be.

Short-term vs. Long-term Trends: While social media highlights short-term fads, it’s less reliable for gauging long-term shifts in behavior or style. 

A dance challenge might be everywhere for a month, but does it indicate a broader trend in music or dance? Probably not.

Audience Engagement Tricks: Sometimes content gets traction not because it’s genuinely popular but because it’s controversial or prompts engagement. H

High engagement doesn’t always equal genuine interest.

Now that you know why I will not use social media to measure an allegedly dying trend of minimalism…


Let’s See What the Data is Actually Saying About Minimalism Being Dead 

Let’s start with search trends on Google.

This is a good indicator to measure because someone typing “minimalism” into Google search has at least a basic interest in it.  

That’s something we can safely assume. 

So, let’s do what I already did in my article about minimalism being overrated and use Google Trends.

It’s a great tool to see how popular a particular topic is. You can see its trend way back to 2004.

So I headed to Google Trends and typed in “minimalism” and “maximalism” as a comparison. 

I set the timeframe to be from 2004 until today.

And this is what I got:

is minimalism dead

See the almost invisible red line close to the X-axis?

Well, that’s the topic of maximalism.

The blue one belongs to the topic “minimalism.”

Doesn’t look dead to me, and seems pretty stable since 2004, even before influencers of today learned to walk and social media were a thing.

Yes, you can also see a decline from a peak a few years back. However, it has stabilized and more or less stayed the same since then.

On a side note, during my research, I found an article mentioning that by entering “minimalism is” into Google search, you get the autocomplete suggestion: “minimalism is dead.”

As a Google search user, you may start thinking, and again wrongly assume, “Yes, seems minimalism is dead, when you get this even in Google’s autocomplete…”

Since I come from the digital marketing world, I can tell you this is indeed a wrong assumption.

Yes, Google gives you these autocomplete suggestions when enough people have already typed a particular keyword or phrase in there.

But the same is true when enough people type in “Elon Musk kidnapped by Aliens.”

The next one typing in “Elon Musk k” will get the autosuggestion “Elon Musk kidnapped by Aliens.”

So, getting something autosuggested has nothing to do with the content’s veracity.

In the case of “minimalism is dead,” it could as well be that enough people were annoyed by some toxic minimalist lecturing about all their clutter at home. 

Now fed up, they started wishing minimalism was dead and typed in “minimalism is dead,” and voila, Google autocomplete suggestion had been generated over time.

Now, what about the economic factor?

A good indicator of a macroeconomic trend is usually the GDP (gross domestic product).

According to this source, there was a negative growth in 2020 (pandemic), then a 5.95% growth in 2021, and a slower growth of 2.06% in 2022.

Suppose the assumption from earlier is true that when economies dive, the affinity for minimalism gets stronger.

In that case, minimalism being dead would mean that there would need to be extreme economic growth, which is not the case.

When you compare the GDP situation for the last ten years to the Google trends chart from above, you may see no correlation.


In Conclusion: Is Minimalism Dead or Out of Style?

Based on the data I outlined above, minimalism is neither dead nor out of style.

What may be dead and out of style is social media influencers producing artificial noise about minimalism.

According to Google Trends, the interest in minimalism has been fairly stable, maintaining a healthy level since 2004. 

Except for a short peak in 2018, there hasn’t been any fast-growing upward trend.


This article has been reviewed by our editorial team. It has been approved for publication per our editorial policy.