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Canada Marketing to Gen Z: Incl Impact of COVID-19 Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Marketing to Gen Z: Incl Impact of COVID-19 - Canada market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

Gen Z behaviour tends to be thought of as buzzworthy and trendy – they shop with their values and prefer connecting with their friends digitally. While their behaviours often get written off as something driven by their age, their shopping behaviours are driven by the different values they hold. Further, their communication habits provide cues into the best way for brands to connect with them. They have been severely impacted by the economic fallout due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Not only does this impact their immediate spending power; it also will impact what adulthood looks like in the years to come. Support for Gen Z can’t come soon enough and will need to go beyond purely financial or monetary support to address mental wellness.

All reports purchased from the Mintel Store now come with free access to our COVID-19 Global Insights Hub, allowing you to understand how industries and consumer behaviour is changing worldwide.

What does the COVID-19 Global Insights Hub give you access to?

  • Over 450 pieces of research (with more published each week) addressing markets across the globe.
  • Discover how people in countries at different stages of the crisis are adjusting to the 'new normal'.
  • Trending industries which have seen growth due to the changes in circumstance.
  • Our latest consumer research surveys, allowing you to see customers views right now.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Carol Wong-Li, a leading analyst in the Lifestyles sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The COVID-19 outbreak will be a truly unifying experience for adult Gen Zs, particularly 21-25s, given they likely face more severe financial setbacks to establishing their futures. Companies across all categories will need to find ways to best set up the Gen Z cohort for success amid this unstable foundation, now and in the months to come. Practical solutions are a must to give them some immediate relief from monetary stresses. The outbreak will also mean that many have a prolonged reliance on their parents, suggesting a need to learn adulting skills when they are older. Carol Wong-Li
Associate Director - Lifestyles & Leisure


What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Definition
        • Executive Summary 

            • Top takeaways
              • Market overview
                • One in 10 Canadian adults are Gen Z
                  • COVID-19 has shaken up their financial foundation
                    • Greater diversity means less alignment with the notion of ‘mainstream’ Canada
                      • Impact of COVID-19 on Gen Z
                        • Figure 1: Short-, medium- and longer-term impact of COVID-19 on Gen Z, June 2020
                      • Opportunities and challenges
                        • Re-emergence
                          • Recovery
                          • The Market – What You Need to Know

                            • One in 10 Canadian adults are Gen Z
                              • Gen Z is the most ethnically diverse generation to date
                                • COVID-19 has shaken up their financial foundation
                                • Market Factors

                                  • By the numbers: one in 10 Canadian adults are a Gen Z
                                    • Figure 2: Canadian population, by age group, 2019
                                  • Inclusivity and diversity are personal to Gen Z
                                    • Immigration is literally changing the face of the nation
                                      • Figure 3: Distribution of foreign-born population in Canada, by region of birth, 1871 to 2036
                                    • Gen Zs are the most ethnically diverse population to date
                                      • Figure 4: Self-identification of ethnicity, by generation, June 2020
                                    • This impacts how they feel about fitting into ‘mainstream’ Canada
                                      • Figure 5: I am part of mainstream Canada (% agree), by generation, January 2018
                                    • Gen Z employment hit hard by COVID-19
                                      • Figure 6: Canadian unemployment rate, monthly, unadjusted for seasonality, February-June 2020
                                    • Gen Z will need more active support from companies on multiple levels
                                    • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                      • Gen Z is kneading away the stress from the pandemic
                                        • Being more connected has mental health consequences for Gen Z women
                                          • Gen Z expectations are driving companies to push the envelope
                                            • Gaming will be the hub for social interactions
                                            • What’s Happening Now?

                                                • Figure 7: Mintel Trends Drivers
                                              • What’s happening now through the lens of the Wellbeing Trend Driver
                                                • Bread baking rises as consumers knead the stress of the pandemic away
                                                  • Figure 8: Google search featuring terms related to bread baking (worldwide), interest over time, January-May 2020
                                                • The emotional benefits are real – particularly for Gen Z
                                                  • The functional benefits are broader for Gen Z
                                                    • Figure 9: Full Proof Baking Instagram post, April 2020
                                                  • Self-care is comforting for Gen Z women
                                                    • Figure 10: Impact ‘beauty products’ have on my mental wellbeing, Gen Z women vs overall, March 2020
                                                    • Figure 11: Lush Instagram post, February 2020
                                                    • Figure 12: Lush Instagram post, March 2020
                                                    • Figure 13: Lush Instagram post, March 2020
                                                • What’s A Challenge?

                                                  • What’s a challenge through the lens of the Technology Trend Driver
                                                    • Gen Z women are more connected yet feeling more isolated
                                                      • Figure 14: Impact ‘social media’ has on my mental wellbeing, Gen Z women vs Gen Z men, March 2020
                                                    • Fostering a sense of togetherness is an important way to support Gen Z women
                                                    • What’s Next?

                                                      • What’s next through the lenses of the Surroundings and Rights Trend Drivers
                                                        • Gen Z are already expecting things to be done differently
                                                          • Figure 15: Top five most important values Canadians should have, Gen Z vs Millennials and older generations, June 2020
                                                        • Gen Z expectations are driving companies to push the envelope
                                                          • Figure 16: Converse Instagram post, January 2020
                                                          • Figure 17: [FUTURECRAFT.LOOP] – Made to Be Remade, April 2019
                                                          • Figure 18: [FUTURECRAFT.LOOP] – Long Documentary, April 2019
                                                          • Figure 19: Adidas Instagram post, November 2019
                                                        • What’s next through the lens of the Technology Trend Driver
                                                          • Gaming will become a primary point of social interactions
                                                            • Figure 20: Fortnight Instagram post, June 2020
                                                            • Figure 21: Fortnight Instagram post, June 2020
                                                        • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                          • Purchase power is influenced by their lifestage
                                                            • Hobbies and interests define who they are
                                                              • Gen Z turn to friends for emotional support and to manage stress
                                                                • Digital channels are preferred for communicating – most of the time
                                                                  • Uncertainty about the future looms large
                                                                    • Helping them get a ‘grip’ with more mental health resources is necessary
                                                                    • Getting to Know the Gen Z Lifestage

                                                                      • The younger age bracket restrict Gen Z purchasing power
                                                                        • Figure 22: Student status, Gen Z vs overall, March 2020
                                                                      • Less affluence means smaller splurges
                                                                        • Figure 23: Household income, Gen Z vs overall, March 2020
                                                                        • Figure 24: How extra money is spent, Gen Z vs overall, February 2020
                                                                      • For the time being, few are likely primary household shoppers
                                                                        • Figure 25: Living arrangements, Gen Z vs overall, March 2020
                                                                      • Fewer responsibilities at home suggests help needed to build basic ‘adulting’ skills
                                                                        • Positioning education as an experience will win over Gen Z
                                                                        • Factors that Define their Personal Identities

                                                                          • Personal identities more likely to be defined by hobbies and interests over role in family
                                                                            • Figure 26: Top three factors that have the greatest influence on personal identity (any rank), Gen Z vs overall, March 2020
                                                                          • Participation in hobbies/interest are informed by values, which are unique for Gen Z
                                                                            • Gen Z values are unique – they’re hungry for change
                                                                              • Figure 27: Top five most important values Canadians should have, Gen Z vs Millennials vs older generations, June 2020
                                                                            • Values influence the activities they attend to
                                                                              • Figure 28: TIME Instagram post, December 2019
                                                                            • Create avenues for Gen Z to contribute to causes they care about through activities they enjoy
                                                                              • Gen Z see brands as symbolizing who they are and the values they hold
                                                                                • Younger generations see identity as more fluid
                                                                                  • Gen Z are a visual generation and symbolic cues like branding matter
                                                                                    • Logos represent who they are, so brand actions matter
                                                                                        • Figure 29: Kiehls Instagram post, June 2020
                                                                                      • Take action from within as Gen Z are paying attention to treatment of employees
                                                                                          • Figure 30: Adidas Instagram post, June 2020
                                                                                      • Connecting with Others

                                                                                        • Unlike older generations, close friends are the key source of emotional support
                                                                                          • Figure 31: Top three most important sources of emotional support (any rank), Gen Z vs overall, March 2020
                                                                                        • Digital connections are preferred
                                                                                          • Figure 32: Preference between talking on the phone or texting/messaging to communicate with friends, by generation, March 2020
                                                                                        • Not all conversations are equal: determining when to talk vs text – in their words
                                                                                          • Take a cue from how they approach conversations to determine how best to provide support
                                                                                            • Consider going digital even when they’re physically in-stores
                                                                                              • Virtual relationships can be meaningful
                                                                                                  • Figure 33: Views on forming friendships with people met online, by generation, March 2020
                                                                                                • Brands will gain by creating communities that support Gen Z interests
                                                                                                • Outlook on Life

                                                                                                  • Financial worry and uncertainty about the future looms large
                                                                                                    • Gen Zs were anxious before the outbreak
                                                                                                      • Figure 34: Current outlook on life, Gen Z vs Millennials and older generations, March 2020
                                                                                                    • Unsurprisingly, uncertainty is amplified by the pandemic – in their words
                                                                                                      • When Gen Z assesses the damage, they see a grim picture
                                                                                                        • Figure 35: Very concerned about financial issues, Gen Z vs Millennials vs older generations, June 2020
                                                                                                      • There is a very real need for a ‘break’ when purchasing goods
                                                                                                        • Consider leveraging private label
                                                                                                          • Rewards for behaviours outside of spending will appeal
                                                                                                            • Consider rewards for environmentally friendly behaviours: spotlight on Kiehl’s
                                                                                                              • Give them tools to be ‘heroes’ in addressing food waste while also saving money
                                                                                                                • Figure 36: How to Flashfood LIKE A MOTHER, September 2019
                                                                                                              • Consider empowering Gen Z though choice
                                                                                                                • Current circumstances leave little room for feeling in control
                                                                                                                  • Customization plays a bigger role than meets the eye
                                                                                                                    • Figure 37: Ikumi Mama Instagram post, May 2020
                                                                                                                    • Figure 38: Ikumi Mama Instagram post, May 2020
                                                                                                                  • Financial institutions will win by helping Gen Z gain control of their budgets
                                                                                                                    • Figure 39: Wealthsimple Instagram post, November 2017
                                                                                                                    • Figure 40: Wealthsimple Instagram post, November 2017
                                                                                                                  • Gen Z women will need more support to address literal and figurative financial woes
                                                                                                                    • Figure 41: Impact ‘my finances’ have on my mental wellbeing, Gen Z women vs overall, March 2020
                                                                                                                  • Go mobile to support Gen Z women
                                                                                                                      • Figure 42: Money Talks Story #1 – Sophia + Imran, December 2018
                                                                                                                      • Figure 43: Money Talks Story #2 – Alyssa + Keith, December 2018
                                                                                                                  • Approach to Living Life

                                                                                                                    • Gen Zs are focused on being present and developing healthy habits
                                                                                                                      • Figure 44: Preference for planning ahead vs living in the moment, by generation, March 2020
                                                                                                                      • Figure 45: Belief that healthy habits vs occasional indulgences is the key to living a good life, by generation, March 2020
                                                                                                                    • Set them up for success by helping create helpful habits they can take into adulthood
                                                                                                                        • Figure 46: Nespresso Facebook post, June 2020
                                                                                                                        • Figure 47: Impossible Foods Instagram post, May 2020
                                                                                                                    • Managing Stress

                                                                                                                      • Connecting with others is an important way for Gen Z to manage stress
                                                                                                                        • Gen Z men and women require different avenues when managing stress
                                                                                                                          • Figure 48: Types of activities used to manage stress, Gen Z men vs Gen Z women, March 2020
                                                                                                                        • Video games can be an effective channel to support the mental health of Gen Z men
                                                                                                                            • Figure 49: Netflix Instagram post, April 2020
                                                                                                                          • Traditional tactile activities will be effective in helping Gen Z women address stress
                                                                                                                            • Familiarity matters in uncertain times
                                                                                                                              • Enhance the comfort of food and personal care products with functionality to connect with Gen Z women
                                                                                                                                • Figure 50: Sheepworld Schoko-Wochenkalender (Germany), October 2019
                                                                                                                                • Figure 51: Yocha Earl Grey & Lavender Stress Away Kombucha (Singapore), March 2020
                                                                                                                                • Figure 52: Kuzala Organics Lavender Coconut Macaroons (US), September 2019
                                                                                                                                • Figure 53: Aveeno Stress Relief Crema Corporal (Canada), June 2020
                                                                                                                              • Helping Gen Z safely engage in old-fashioned in-person gatherings will matter
                                                                                                                                • Figure 54: Dos Equis Instagram post, June 2020
                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                                              • Data sources
                                                                                                                                • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                                                  • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                                                                    • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                      • Terms

                                                                                                                                      About the report

                                                                                                                                      This report will give you a complete 360-degree view of your market. Not only is it rooted in robust proprietary and high-quality third-party data, but our industry experts put that data into context and you’ll quickly understand:

                                                                                                                                      • The Consumer

                                                                                                                                        What They Want. Why They Want It.

                                                                                                                                      • The Competitors

                                                                                                                                        Who’s Winning. How To Stay Ahead.

                                                                                                                                      • The Market

                                                                                                                                        Size, Segments, Shares And Forecasts: How It All Adds Up.

                                                                                                                                      • The Innovations

                                                                                                                                        New Ideas. New Products. New Potential.

                                                                                                                                      • The Opportunities

                                                                                                                                        Where The White Space Is. How To Make It Yours.

                                                                                                                                      • The Trends

                                                                                                                                        What’s Shaping Demand – Today And Tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                      Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.