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The Canadian consumer is currently facing considerable challenges. Unemployment is high, people are worried about being able to save enough to enjoy a comfortable retirement, and household debt is approaching levels that may indicate they are about to face their own credit crisis.

Millennials and Baby Boomers in particular are at a financial crossroads that is being heavily affected by the uncertainty in the economy. Millennials are struggling to get the jobs that are necessary to get them on their financial way, and Boomers are heading into retirement, many without the financial cushion they had planned so long to have. Gen X’ers, too, haven’t been immune as they are in midcareer, but unable to move up the ladder because Boomers aren’t leaving. In the meantime they are caught trying to juggle the myriad financial obligations of a growing family.

To meet the needs of each of the generations, financial institutions need to undergo a major shift in focus. While Canadian banks and other financial institutions aren’t experiencing the complete loss of trust with which the U.S. financial institutions have been challenged, the Occupy Wall Street movement hasn’t been lost on Canadians and there is some distrust of big banks and big business. Also, in some respects, the needs of Millennials are driving the industry, as they account for the largest population segment and represent the largest and most immediate future customer base. They are asking for more flexible products, more flexible services, and more accessibility. Financial institutions will have to meet all of these criteria if they expect to thrive and grow.

What you need to know:

  • How is the state of the Canadian economy affecting different generations of financial services customers?
  • How are credit unions fighting to attract Millennials, the most important customer of the future?
  • How do Canadians of different generations view their efforts as far as preparing for retirement?
  • How are banks and credit unions using social media effectively to reach out to different groups of people?
  • How are the opportunities in new media forcing banks and credit unions to redesign their marketing plans?

What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

      • What you need to know
        • Data sources
          • Consumer study data
            • Abbreviations and terms
              • Abbreviations
                • Companies mentioned in this report:
                • Executive Summary

                  • Economic overview
                    • The population is changing
                      • Credit unions are making inroads
                        • Reaching Millennials is key to growth and social media is the way
                          • Internet and mobile banking are poised to grow
                          • Insights and Opportunities

                              • Key points
                                • Number of retirees is growing
                                  • Younger people are becoming adults later in life
                                    • Figure 1: percentage of each generation living at home while in their 20s, 2010
                                  • Debt and retirement are two primary concerns
                                    • RRSP ownership is substantially down from peak levels
                                      • Figure 2: RRSP ownership, by age group and gender, 2002-11
                                      • Figure 3: RRSP Statistics, by age and overall average, 2011 tax year
                                    • Mobile banking is set to surge
                                      • Millennials are an attractive segment for credit unions
                                      • Inspire Insights

                                        • Inspire Trend: “Boomerang Generation”
                                          • Inspire Trend: “The Rise of the Screenager”
                                          • Market Size and Forecast

                                            • Key points
                                              • Millennials are the largest population segment
                                                • Figure 4: Canadian population and labor force, by generation, 2011
                                                • Figure 5: population projections, 2011-36 (thousands)
                                              • Immigrants are a major source of growing population
                                                  • Figure 6: Permanent residents immigrating to Canada, 2005-10
                                                  • Figure 7: Percentage distribution of permanent residents by area of origin, 2005-10
                                              • Competitive Context

                                                • Key points
                                                  • Credit unions are moving in
                                                    • Big Five control 85% of banking market
                                                      • Figure 8: Assets and market share of largest banks, as of December 2011
                                                  • Marketing Channels

                                                    • Key points
                                                      • Everyone is watching a screen
                                                        • Figure 9: Internet users aged 16+ by province, 2010
                                                        • Figure 10: Monthly video views per user, selected markets, December 2011
                                                      • Smartphones
                                                        • Figure 11: Proportion of age groups who are mobile phone and smartphone users, 2011
                                                      • Use of social networks to communicate with younger customers
                                                          • Figure 12: Frequency of signing on to Facebook account, by age, January 2011
                                                        • Traditional media not dead yet
                                                        • Market Drivers

                                                          • Key points
                                                            • Unemployment, especially among young people, is high
                                                              • Figure 13: Unemployment rate for those aged 15-24, November 2000 – November 2011
                                                            • An aging population
                                                              • Figure 14: Canadian population growth rate, by age group, 2009-10
                                                              • Figure 15: percentage of Canadian population younger than 14 and older than 65, 1971-2031
                                                            • A suspect housing market
                                                              • Household debt is higher than ever
                                                                • Interest rates may rise
                                                                  • Women are changing the dynamic
                                                                  • Leading Companies

                                                                    • Key points
                                                                      • Largest banks
                                                                        • Figure 16: big five banks, by assets, January 31, 2012
                                                                      • Royal Bank of Canada
                                                                        • TD Bank (Toronto-Dominion)
                                                                          • Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)
                                                                            • Bank of Montreal (BMO)
                                                                              • CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)
                                                                                • Largest Credit Unions
                                                                                  • Figure 17: 10 largest credit unions by assets (excluding Quebec), Q4 2011
                                                                                • Vancity Credit Union
                                                                                  • Coast Capital Savings Credit Union
                                                                                    • Servus Credit Union
                                                                                      • Meridian Credit Union
                                                                                        • First West Credit Union
                                                                                          • Desjardins Financial Group is the largest cooperative financial group
                                                                                          • Innovation and Innovators

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                              • Getting young people to engage
                                                                                                • RBC is using technology to target the very youngest future customers
                                                                                                  • CIBC
                                                                                                    • TD Bank offers mortgage payment flexibility
                                                                                                    • Marketing Strategies

                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                        • Print advertising
                                                                                                          • Figure 18: CIBC print ad, 2012
                                                                                                          • Figure 19: CIBC print ad, February 2010
                                                                                                          • Figure 20: TD Bank print ad, February 2012
                                                                                                        • Direct mail advertising
                                                                                                          • Figure 21: Discovery Financial Group, direct mail ad, 2012
                                                                                                          • Figure 22: Scotiabank direct mail ad, 2012
                                                                                                          • Figure 23: ATB Investor Services direct mail ad, 2012
                                                                                                        • Online and email advertising
                                                                                                          • Figure 24: American Family Insurance online ad, 2012
                                                                                                          • Figure 25: PNC Bank online ad, 2012
                                                                                                      • The Consumer—Lifestage Goals

                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • Travel is a key goal for everyone
                                                                                                              • Figure 26: Personal goals for next two to three years, by age, April 2012
                                                                                                            • Many income groups have same goals
                                                                                                                • Figure 27: Personal goals for next two to three years, by income, April 2012
                                                                                                              • Gen X women are much more enthusiastic about college
                                                                                                                  • Figure 28: Personal goals for next two to three years, by gender and age, April 2012
                                                                                                              • The Consumer—Financial Goals

                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                  • Building up a savings account is number one goal for all respondents
                                                                                                                    • Figure 29: Specific financial goals for next two to three years, by gender, April 2012
                                                                                                                  • The younger groups want it all
                                                                                                                      • Figure 30: Specific financial goals for next two to three years, by age, April 2012
                                                                                                                    • Greater focus on longer-term goals for higher earners
                                                                                                                        • Figure 31: Specific financial goals for next two to three years, by income, April 2012
                                                                                                                      • Student debt a top priority for the youngest
                                                                                                                          • Figure 32: Specific financial goals for next two to three years, by gender and age, April 2012
                                                                                                                      • The Consumer—Ownership of Financial Products

                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                          • Men are investors, women are savers
                                                                                                                              • Figure 33: Types of financial product owned, by gender, April 2012
                                                                                                                            • Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers biggest insurance and investment customers
                                                                                                                                • Figure 34: Types of financial product owned, by age, April 2012
                                                                                                                              • Income is a big determinant of insurance/investment ownership
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Types of financial product owned, by income, April 2012
                                                                                                                                • Young men are least-interested customers
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 36: Types of financial product owned, by age and gender, April 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Most have some type of retirement plan
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 37: Types of financial account owned, by age, April 2012
                                                                                                                                    • Those with higher incomes more likely to save for retirement
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 38: Types of financial account owned, by income, April 2012
                                                                                                                                    • Men more likely than women to save
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 39: Types of financial account owned, by gender and age, April 2012
                                                                                                                                    • The Consumer—Sources of Financial Information

                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                        • Men use more sources of information
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 40: Sources of information about investments and finance, by gender, April 2012
                                                                                                                                        • Internet is main source of information for younger people; advisers for older people
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 41: Sources of information about investments and finance, by age, April 2012
                                                                                                                                          • People earning more money use more sources of information
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 42: Sources of information about investments and finance, by income, April 2012
                                                                                                                                          • Gender plays a huge role in how people prefer to get information
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 43: Sources of information about investments and finance, by gender and age, April 2012
                                                                                                                                          • The Consumer—Attitudes About Financial Products

                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                              • Most people say they look for good deals on insurance
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 44: Attitudes about credit and retirement savings, by age, April 2012
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 45: Attitudes about credit and retirement savings, by income, April 2012
                                                                                                                                              • Gen X may need help getting back on retirement savings track
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 46: Attitudes about credit and retirement savings, by gender and age, April 2012
                                                                                                                                              • Appendix—Trade Associations

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