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"Millennials are seeking new ways to define themselves (not necessarily rooted in traditional expectations). Taking pride in being unique from others of their generation, brands will need to be respectful of their individuality and sense of responsibility. From brands, Millennials seek a collaborative, authentic relationship."

- Carol Wong-Li, Senior Analyst, Lifestyles and Leisure

This report looks at the following issues:

  • Millennials do not identify with the generational label
  • When it comes to advertising, Millennials feel overwhelmed and manipulated
  • Millennials are focused on personal enrichment

At age 18-34, Millennials represent one fifth of the Canadian population. While Millennials prioritize personal goals over career goals, most have achieved financial independence and feel the impact of the current economic state. Millennials are looking to influential voices when shopping and are seeking an authentic, two-way connection with retailers. Pride is taken on being different from others of their generation, exhibited by a conscious desire to distance themselves from the stereotypical notions of being spoiled and narcissistic.

What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Executive Summary

      • The issues
        • Millennials do not identify with the generational label
          • Figure 1: Millennial perceptions – How Millennials see themselves, other Millennials and how they think older generations see them, October 2015
        • When it comes to advertising, Millennials feel overwhelmed and manipulated
          • Figure 2: Millennial attitudes towards advertising, October 2015
        • The opportunities
          • Millennials may be ready for help with money management
            • Figure 3: Millennial attitudes towards financial statements, October 2015
          • Millennials are focused on personal enrichment
            • Figure 4: Goals within the next three years, October 2015
          • Catering to the Millennial VIPs – The affluent segment
            • Figure 5: Millennial attitudes towards shopping (selected statements), Millennials with household income of $75,000 or higher vs overall, October 2015
          • What it means
          • The Market – What You Need to Know

            • Millennials make up one fifth of the population
              • Millennials are a significant part of Canada’s labour force
                • The current economy is top of mind for Millennials
                  • The retail journey consists of more touchpoints than ever before
                  • Market Factors

                    • Millennials make up one fifth of the population
                      • Figure 6: Canadian population, by generation share, 2015
                    • Millennials make up nearly a third of the workforce
                      • Figure 7: Canada’s labour force survey estimates, by generation, 2015
                    • Economic factors
                      • Millennials are feeling the crunch of current economic conditions
                        • Retail industry factors
                          • The path to purchase involves multiple touchpoints for Millennials
                          • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                            • Retailers are actively aligning touchpoints
                              • Authentic connections will be noticed
                                • Courting those who speak up
                                • What’s Working?

                                  • Considering the entire retail experience by aligning touchpoints
                                    • Sport Chek steps up its digital game in stores
                                      • Thyme Maternity keeps its brick and mortar stores relevant
                                        • Amazon gets physical
                                          • Connecting to consumers by lending a helping hand
                                            • Sobeys helps out in the kitchen with its Seafood Steamer
                                              • E-commerce sites integrate technology to help customers find the right fit
                                                • Connecting with Millennials by being socially responsible
                                                  • Warby Parker helps people see better
                                                    • Uniqlo addresses educational disparity and poverty among disadvantaged children
                                                      • H&M is environmentally aware with its Conscious collection
                                                      • What’s Next?

                                                        • Marketing by rewarding consumers who speak up
                                                          • Starwood’s Tribute launch showcases reviews by social media influencers
                                                            • Yelp makes elite reviewers VIP
                                                              • Kimpton hones in on the power of karma
                                                              • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                • Most Millennials are financially independent and feel the impact of the current economy
                                                                  • When shopping, weight is given to the voice of real consumers
                                                                    • Quality and affordability are basic brand requirements
                                                                      • The sentiment held towards advertising is negative: Overwhelming and manipulative
                                                                        • Millennials are focused on personal enrichment
                                                                          • They may not identify themselves with fitting under the Millennial label
                                                                          • Financial Responsibility

                                                                            • Most Millennials have achieved financial independence
                                                                              • Figure 8: Current living arrangement, October 2015
                                                                            • Two thirds of Millennials are primarily responsible for their own finances
                                                                              • Figure 9: Responsibility for living expenses, October 2015
                                                                            • Predictably, living arrangements correspond to financial responsibility
                                                                              • Opportunities abound for each combination
                                                                                • Benefits to be had by financial companies
                                                                                • Impact of the Current Economic Conditions

                                                                                  • Millennials are cautious about how they spend
                                                                                    • Figure 10: Millennial attitudes towards financial statements, October 2015
                                                                                  • Affluence and life stage plays a role
                                                                                    • Messaging that reflects priorities should resonate
                                                                                      • Parents exhibit some differences
                                                                                        • Rewards programs should work well to entice parents
                                                                                          • French speaking households are more laissez-faire
                                                                                          • Approach to Shopping

                                                                                            • Much weight is given to the voice of real consumers
                                                                                              • Figure 11: Millennial attitudes towards shopping, October 2015
                                                                                            • Younger Millennials more likely to turn to reviews
                                                                                              • Affluent Millennials look to their contacts for recommendations
                                                                                                • Millennials are showrooming – Particularly the affluent
                                                                                                  • Figure 12: Attitudes (any agree) towards shopping statement “stores are best used for creating experiences around products I may later buy online”, household income vs overall, October 2015
                                                                                                • Millennial fathers are early adopters
                                                                                                  • Figure 13: Attitudes towards shopping statement “I like to be one of the first people to buy new/trendy products”, fathers vs overall, October 2015
                                                                                              • Valued Brand Characteristics

                                                                                                • Millennials will pay for quality, while affordability is the runner up
                                                                                                  • Figure 14: Brand influencers for Millennials, October 2015
                                                                                                • Younger Millennials will pay for quality and eco-friendly brands
                                                                                                  • Affordability and rewards matter to Millennial women
                                                                                                    • For women, favourite brands are reflective of personal style
                                                                                                      • Affluent Millennials value a brand’s heritage, though expect their loyalty to be rewarded
                                                                                                      • Attitudes towards Advertising

                                                                                                        • Millennials feel overwhelmed and manipulated
                                                                                                          • Figure 15: Millennial attitudes towards advertising, October 2015
                                                                                                        • Acknowledgement may go a long way
                                                                                                          • Attention! Attention!
                                                                                                            • Leverage technology to extend the word
                                                                                                              • Compensate for attention
                                                                                                                • When done right, laughter can be the best medicine
                                                                                                                    • Figure 16: Geico YouTube pre-roll advertisement, “Family: Unskippable”, 2015
                                                                                                                    • Figure 17: Geico YouTube pre-roll advertisement, “High Five: Unskippable”, 2015
                                                                                                                • Personal and Career Goals

                                                                                                                  • Millennials are focused on personal enrichment: developing a healthier lifestyle and gaining experiences
                                                                                                                    • Figure 18: Goals within the next three years, October 2015
                                                                                                                  • Greater focus on the ‘life’ part of work/life balance
                                                                                                                      • Figure 19: EpicEstonia #17 advertisement, “A day as a chimney sweeper in medieval Tallinn”, 2015
                                                                                                                    • Older Millennials strive for balance and are forward focused
                                                                                                                      • Time limitations are impacting ability to live a healthy lifestyle for older Millennials
                                                                                                                        • Targeting life’s big milestones
                                                                                                                          • Women more likely to be aiming for a healthier lifestyle and traveling
                                                                                                                            • Affluent Millennials more focused on travel
                                                                                                                            • Perceptions of the Generation

                                                                                                                              • Self-perceptions do not line up with the stereotypes
                                                                                                                                • Figure 20: How Millennials see themselves, October 2015
                                                                                                                              • Self-perceptions: Responsible and ambitious – A qualitative look
                                                                                                                                • Millennials believe their generation is seen negatively, but hold similar views of the generation themselves (albeit to a lesser degree)
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 21: Millennial perceptions: How Millennials see themselves, other Millennials and how they think older generations see them, October 2015
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 22: Correspondence analysis – Millennial perceptions, October 2015
                                                                                                                                • Being online may be driving a need to stand apart
                                                                                                                                  • Being online leads to a greater desire for personalization
                                                                                                                                    • Being online also means a need for greater responsiveness from brands
                                                                                                                                      • Connections can be made while they are offline
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 23: Lily and the Snowman, December 2015
                                                                                                                                        • Marketing to Millennials does not have to alienate other generations
                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                                                          • Data sources
                                                                                                                                            • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                                                              • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                                                                                • Correspondence methodology
                                                                                                                                                  • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                                                                    • Abbreviations

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