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Marketing to Gen Z - Canada - September 2019

Covered in this report

Gen Z: the generation is born between 1995 and 2007. In 2019, Gen Zs are between the ages of 12 and 24. As Mintel Canada surveys only adults, this report only discusses the attitudes and behaviours of adult Gen Z; ie those aged 18-24.


"Like any other generation, Gen Z are a product of their times. However, unlike before, the pace of change has never been faster, influencing the mindset and core values of Gen Z to a degree which has never been seen before. Societal and cultural nuances have influenced Gen Z in such a way that they are not Millennials 2.0, and differ in their core values from older generations. The generation’s more personal relationship with brands and mission-mindedness means they will hold brands to higher standards. While they are not currently primary household shoppers, they will be in just five to ten years and will bring their orientation to the world with them.

This report investigates the 18-24-year-old lifestage, the goals and stressors of Gen Z, how they most enjoy spending their time, their values, their relationship with brands and the impact tech is having on their preferences for interacting with others."

– Carol Wong-Li, Associate Director - Lifestyles & Leisure

This report examines the following issues:

  • The fundamental values of Gen Z differ – even from Millennials
  • The future looks uncertain as Gen Z strive towards financial stability
  • Gen Z shopping with their morals as they see brands representing who they are

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definitions
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • The fundamental values of Gen Z differ – even from Millennials
            • Figure 1: Top five most important values Canadians should have, Gen Z vs Millennials vs older generations, June 2019
          • The future looks uncertain as Gen Z strive towards financial stability
            • Figure 2: Stressors, Gen Z vs older generations, June 2019
          • Gen Z shopping with their morals as they see brands representing who they are
            • Figure 3: ‘The brands I use reinforce the image I want to portray’ (% any agree), Gen Z vs older generations, June 2019
          • Opportunities
            • Inclusion and representation matter as the generation is diverse on multiple levels
              • Figure 4: Ethnic makeup, Gen Z vs older generations, June 2019
            • Gen Z women: providing a sense of belonging in-person is a matter of mental wellness
              • Figure 5: Attitudes and impact of social media usage, Gen Z women vs Gen Z men, June 2019
            • Big brands: build hobby-based communities to continue winning with Gen Z men
              • Figure 6: Attitudes towards big brands, Gen Z men vs overall June 2019
            • What it means
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Adult Gen Z comprise a tenth of the Canadian population
                • Gen Z are the most ethnically diverse generation to date
                • Market Factors

                  • One in 10 Canadians are adult Gen Z
                    • Figure 7: Canadian population, by age group, 2018
                  • Gen Z are the most ethnically diverse generation to date
                    • Immigration is the primary driver of population growth
                      • Figure 8: Distribution of foreign-born population in Canada, by region of birth, 1871 to 2036
                    • Gen Z are much more ethnically diverse than all older generations
                      • Figure 9: Self-identification of ethnicity, by generation, June 2019
                    • More diversity means a different ‘face’ of ‘mainstream Canada’
                      • Figure 10: “I am part of mainstream Canada” (% agree), by generation, January 2018
                  • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                    • Free and real content is winning
                      • Legacy brands hold weight with Gen Z men
                        • Commitment to values must run throughout the entire organization
                          • Traditional loyalty programs are missing the mark
                            • Remember, Gen Z are a product of their environment
                            • What’s Working?

                              • Free content is winning
                                • YouTube ranked as a top three favourite brand for Gen Z
                                  • Streaming videos is a part of everyday life
                                    • Figure 11: Frequency of watching free videos, Gen Z vs older generations, January 2019
                                  • Speaking of content, let’s get real
                                    • TikTok is taking off with Gen Z
                                      • Online video gaming is time worth spending
                                        • Figure 12: Attitudes towards gaming, Gen Z men vs overall, November 2018
                                      • Surprise! Big brands are winning with Gen Z and Millennial men
                                        • Figure 13: Attitudes towards big brands, by age and gender, June 2019
                                      • Scaling down products to adapt to modern interests: spotlight on Bose
                                        • Figure 14: Bose, March 2018
                                      • Modernizing offerings to adapt to modern interests: spotlight on Garmin
                                        • Figure 15: Introducing the fēnix 6 series, August 2019
                                    • What’s Not Working?

                                      • Woke washing – values/ethics must cut across all business levels
                                        • Figure 16: “I care if brands/companies represent my personal values”, Gen Z vs older generations, June 2019
                                      • Today’s ‘on display’ culture means commitment to values has to happen at all levels
                                        • Spotlight on SoulCycle and Equinox
                                          • Traditional loyalty programs are missing the mark with Gen Z
                                            • Figure 17: Influence and perceptions of loyalty programs, Gen z vs older generations, April 2019
                                          • Gen Z men: Amazon Prime is upping the ante for all retailers
                                            • Figure 18: Select attitudes towards loyalty programs (% any agree), men 18-24 vs overall, April 2019
                                        • What’s Next?

                                          • Career goals reflect changing times
                                            • The issue of balance may become a greater focus
                                              • Figure 19: Experienced stress and anxiety in the past year, Gen Z vs older generations, May 2019
                                          • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                            • Gen Z are in a unique lifestage
                                              • Gen Z are financially minded and uncertain about the future
                                                • In-person time matters
                                                  • The fundamental values of Gen Z are different than older generations
                                                    • Reliance on tech leaves them feeling more isolated
                                                    • Getting to Know Today’s Gen Z

                                                      • Most aren’t adulting yet so mindset will be more self-oriented
                                                        • Figure 20: Key demographics: student status, living independently, coupled and parent status, Gen Z vs older generations, June 2019
                                                      • Attracting Gen Z by meaningfully linking broader interests: spotlight on Amazon Prime
                                                        • Student status makes traditional loyalty programs a challenge
                                                          • Figure 21: Perception of financial situation, Gen Z vs older generations, June 2019
                                                        • Raise the game by supporting causes that matter
                                                          • Diversity is the norm, inclusivity matters
                                                            • Gen Z are the most ethnically diverse generation to date
                                                              • Figure 22: Ethnic makeup, Gen Z vs older generations, June 2019
                                                            • Impact: diversity creates opportunities, but some ‘traditions’ need to be re-examined
                                                              • Lifestyles are also more diverse, inclusion needs to go beyond the rainbow logo
                                                                • Figure 23: Identifies as being part of the LGBT+ community, Gen Z vs overall, June 2019
                                                              • Improving business practices to be more inclusive: spotlight on MasterCard and Lyft
                                                                • Figure 24: True Name, June 2019
                                                            • Stressors and Goals

                                                              • Gen Z are financially minded and uncertain about the future
                                                                • Figure 25: Goals hope to achieve in next five years, June 2019
                                                              • Uncertainty looms, opening up opportunities for financial institutions
                                                                • Figure 26: Stressors, Gen Z vs older generations, June 2019
                                                              • Weighed down by financial concerns, Gen Z women feel behind
                                                                • Figure 27: “My life isn’t where I thought it would be at this point” (% any agree), Gen Z women vs overall, June 2019
                                                              • Consider incorporating mental health as a component of financial education
                                                                • Let’s talk about money management: spotlighting SoFi
                                                                  • Figure 28: Money Talks Story #1 – Sophia + Imran, December 2018
                                                                  • Figure 29: Money Talks Story #2 – Alyssa + Keith, December 2018
                                                                • Women and money: spotlighting Visa
                                                                  • Figure 30: Money is Changing: The Cost, February 2019
                                                                  • Figure 31: Money is Changing: Pay equality in Hollywood, February 2019
                                                              • Favourite Activities

                                                                • In-person time matters
                                                                  • Tech reliance doesn’t necessarily mean a preference for alone time
                                                                      • Figure 32: Attitudes towards socializing (% any agree), Gen Z vs older generations, June 2019
                                                                    • In-person time with friends and family are favourite activities for Gen Z
                                                                      • Figure 33: Activities enjoyed the most (any rank), Gen Z vs older generations, June 2019
                                                                    • Activity preferences differ for Gen Z men and women
                                                                      • Figure 34: Activities enjoyed the most (any rank), Gen Z men vs Gen Z women, June 2019
                                                                    • Gen Z women: in-person social time counts for more, possibly out of necessity
                                                                      • Showcasing togetherness: spotlighting Corona
                                                                        • Figure 35: Together, March 2019
                                                                      • Friends that watch together stay together: consider promoting ‘binge’ nights
                                                                        • Building communities from common interests will win over Gen Z men
                                                                          • If you build it, they will come - consider promoting video game meet ups
                                                                          • Connecting with Gen Z Values

                                                                            • The fundamental beliefs of Gen Z are unique from all other generations
                                                                              • Figure 36: Top five most important values Canadians should have, Gen Z vs Millennials vs older generations, June 2019
                                                                            • Emphasis on a willingness to change – in their words
                                                                              • Gen Z are a product of their time: they’re paying attention and thinking critically
                                                                                • Diversity is the norm - differences are embraced, not ‘tolerated’
                                                                                  • Figure 37: ‘Sense of community’ and ‘tolerance’ as the most important value Canadians should have, Gen Z vs older generations, June 2019
                                                                                • Gen Z hold a more global view of people and categories
                                                                                  • It’s personal - brands represent who they are
                                                                                    • Figure 38: ‘The brands I use reinforce the image I want to portray’ (% any agree), Gen Z vs older generations, June 2019
                                                                                  • Brands that ‘walk the walk’ are noticed – in their words
                                                                                    • Gen Z are paying attention to social and environmental issues
                                                                                      • Figure 39: Issues concerned about, Gen Z vs Millennials vs older generations, June 2019
                                                                                    • Affordable education and diversity matter to Gen Z…
                                                                                      • Figure 40: Trixie Mattel Presents Home of the Brave: Getting Ready, June 2019
                                                                                    • …so does climate change and waste reduction
                                                                                      • Finding ways to close the loop: spotlight on Adidas
                                                                                        • Choosing commitment to values over profits: spotlight on Patagonia
                                                                                        • Impact of Living ‘On Display’

                                                                                          • Greater digital connection leaves Gen Z feeling more isolated and judged
                                                                                            • Figure 41: Attitudes and impact of social media usage, Gen Z vs Millennials vs older generations, June 2019
                                                                                          • The impact of living ‘on display’ is hitting Gen Z women harder
                                                                                              • Figure 42: Attitudes and impact of social media usage, Gen Z women vs Gen Z men, June 2019
                                                                                            • Gen Z have less ‘anchor’ points for self-identity
                                                                                              • Figure 43: Correspondence analysis – Symmetrical map – Generational perspectives, June 2019
                                                                                            • Building communities around other ‘identity anchors’ will matter
                                                                                              • Bonding over loss: spotlight on Pet Loss Café
                                                                                                • Want to work out your mental health? Spotlight on the Fika emotional fitness app
                                                                                                • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                  • Data sources
                                                                                                    • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                      • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                                        • Correspondence analysis
                                                                                                          • Figure 44: Generational perspectives, June 2019
                                                                                                        • Abbreviations
                                                                                                          • Terms

                                                                                                          Marketing to Gen Z - Canada - September 2019

                                                                                                          £3,435.47 (Excl.Tax)