Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Canada Marketing To Gen Z market, including the behaviors, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Younger adults are often thought of as more carefree as they are less likely to carry the full burden of financial responsibility. Yet over half (54%) of Canadian Gen Zs worry about being a burden on their family, highlighting they really are feeling the weight of uncertainty – something that has been amplified due to the economic setbacks they now face thanks to the pandemic.

The loss of jobs and internships experienced now by 18-24s will prolong their financial dependence. This will delay their transition to becoming the primary household shopper, meaning that businesses in categories where they are less likely to be the final purchasers (eg for pricier products like electronics or household consumption items like groceries) will need to promote ways to engage and onboard them at an earlier lifestage than before.

The financial strain they currently face is also taking a very real toll on their emotional wellness, making mental health a key area that companies across all categories should consider addressing across all touchpoints. This is especially important when targeting Gen Z women as their version of success means being fulfilled and independent, resulting in the segment putting on a happy face at the cost of showing their true selves which is leading to an increased sense of social isolation.

By acknowledging the current challenges they face, connecting with them through meaningful or educational experiences and by creating avenues that give them back a sense of control over their lives now and into the future, companies will make them feel seen and understood.

Read on to discover more details or take a look at all of our Canada Consumer Lifestyles, Marketing and Promotion market research.

Quickly understand

  • The pandemic’s economic impact on Gen Zs’ outlook on their future.
  • Gen Z research on how their lifestage shapes their spending and category interactions.
  • Gen Zs’ satisfaction with life and the areas of concern.
  • How Gen Zs perceive themselves and how they see their peers.

Covered in this report

Brands: Real Canadian Superstore, Flipp, Sephora, Kostministeriet, IKEA, The RealReal, Nespresso, Wealthsimple, MoneySense, Chime, SoFi, Downy Philippines, Netflix.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

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

Gen Zs aren’t living up to the old adage of being young and carefree as they’re bogged down with worry about sustaining their current standard of living and worse, that their financial dependence is making them a burden on their families. As this is clearly not a healthy mental space to be in, there is a clear need to acknowledge the emotions and frustrations of facing such challenges. This is particularly pressing when targeting Gen Z women as the pressure to appear successful and happy is driving them to feel further socially disconnected. The economic setbacks they face now will delay their transition to becoming the primary household shopper, meaning that categories where they aren’t the final purchasers will need to put more efforts into engaging them on a more fun rather than functional level.

Carol Wong-Li
Associate Director Lifestyles & Leisure

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Key issues covered in this Report
    • Definition
    • COVID-19: Canadian context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways 
    • Market overview 
    • Impact of COVID-19 on Gen Zs
      • Figure 1: Short-, medium- and longer-term impact of COVID-19 on Gen Zs, 2021
    • Opportunities
    • Connect through fun experiences that help them build up ‘basic’ skills
    • Give them ways to show that their choices are well thought through
    • Show them you see and support them by acknowledging challenges
    • Challenges
    • Financial insecurity means a need for discounts, there’s a need to validate their price-focused approach
    • Loneliness is an issue for Gen Z women, shed light on the emotions that come with facing challenges
  3. The Market – Key Takeaways

    • Spending power is shaped by younger lifestage
    • Financial foundations have been rocked, shaping future adulthood
    • Gen Z are ethnically diverse and expect representation
  4. Market Factors and Current Opportunities

    • The purchase power of 18-24s is less than older segments
    • By the numbers: Gen Zs represent 9% of Canadian adults
      • Figure 2: Canadian population, by generation, 2019
    • Financial dependence means category involvement differs from older adults
    • Expect a delay in their transition to becoming the primary household shopper
      • Figure 3: Canadian unemployment rate (monthly), seasonally unadjusted, January 2020-May 2021
    • Gen Zs need discounts now, and need help feeling good about it
      • Figure 4: How to Flashfood LIKE A MOTHER, September 2019
      • Figure 5: Real Canadian Superstore Instagram post, October 2019
    • Delay in attaining financial independence puts pressure on their Gen X parents
      • Figure 6: Flipp Instagram post, April 2021
    • DEI issues are personal to Gen Zs
    • Immigration is changing the literal face of the nation
      • Figure 7: Immigrants as a proportion of the Canadian population, 1871-2036
    • Gen Zs are ethnically diverse and challenging the perception of ‘mainstream’ Canada
      • Figure 8: Self-identification of ethnicity, by generation, 2021
      • Figure 9: ‘There is no universal “Canadian identity”’ (% any agree), by generation, 2021
      • Figure 10: Sephora Canada Facebook post, May 2021
  5. Competitive Strategies – A Look Ahead

    • Meeting consumer needs through the lens of the Wellbeing and Technology Trend Drivers
    • Consider ‘mixing and matching’ as wellness is a holistic journey
      • Figure 11: Kostministeriet Facebook posts, June 2020
    • Why this matters now and into the future
      • Figure 12: Distribution of underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese, by age, 2018
      • Figure 13: SK-II STUDIO: ‘VS Pressure’ featuring Kasumi Ishikawa #CHANGEDESTINY, May 2021
    • Meeting consumer needs through the lens of the Surroundings Trend Driver
    • The circular economy: good for the planet and as a strategy to appeal to Gen Zs
      • Figure 14: IKEA Facebook post, November 2020
      • Figure 15: IKEA Instagram post, March 2021
      • Figure 16: The RealReal Facebook post, October 2020
  6. The Consumer – Key Takeaways

    • Gen Zs are concerned about their ability to launch into adulthood
    • Financial instability detracts from life satisfaction amongst Gen Z women
    • Loneliness is also an issue for Gen Z women
    • Gen Zs see themselves as motivated, see their peers as impulsive and overwhelmed
  7. Getting to Know Today’s Gen Zs

    • Where older generations are established, Gen Zs are preparing to launch
      • Figure 17: Responsibility for paying own living expenses, Gen Z vs overall, 2021
    • Achieving financial independence is a concern for Gen Zs
      • Figure 18: ‘I worry about being a burden on my family’ (% any agree), Gen Z vs overall, 2021
    • Instill confidence by helping them build up ‘basic’ adulting skills
      • Figure 19: Confidence in skills, Gen Z vs overall, 2021
      • Figure 20: Nespresso Facebook post, June 2020
      • Figure 21: Wealthsimple Instagram posts, August 2020
      • Figure 22: Wealthsimple Instagram post, June 2021
  8. Life Satisfaction and Concerns

    • Life satisfaction is divided along gender lines
      • Figure 23: Satisfaction with life areas – Gen Z, by gender, 2021
      • Figure 24: Satisfaction with life areas – Gen Z, by gender, 2021
    • Gen Z women need help accessing necessities and building future financial stability
      • Figure 25: MoneySense Facebook posts, October 2020 and June 2021
      • Figure 26: Chime Credit Builder – A New Way To Build Credit, December 2020
      • Figure 27: Chime Facebook posts, March 2020
    • Social disconnection is an issue for Gen Z women
      • Figure 28: Select attitudes towards feeling socially connected (% any agree) – Gen Z, by gender vs overall, 2021
    • Gen Z women prize independence, but it comes at the cost of showing their true selves
      • Figure 29: Areas important for maintaining quality of life (very important) – Gen Z, by gender, 2021
      • Figure 30: Preference for keeping true feelings to themselves to get positive feedback vs expressing true feelings even if they get negative feedback on social media – Gen Z, by gender, 2021
    • There’s an urgent need to shed light on the fact that success comes with bumps to support Gen Z women
      • Figure 31: Money Talks Story #1 – Sophia + Imran, December 2018
      • Figure 32: Money Talks Story #2 – Alyssa + Keith, December 2018
      • Figure 33: SoFi Instagram post, July 2020
    • Don’t be afraid to get real
      • Figure 34: Preference for seeing more social media posts that have more ‘real’ content to reassure them that everyone has flaws vs seeing more aspirational posts to inspire them – Gen Z, by gender, 2021
    • “Making it work” is internalized, seen as a key part of being successful
    • Gen Z women grew up watching their Gen X moms do double duty
    • The pandemic has reversed progress
    • Proactively normalizing men’s participation in household duties at all ages is necessary
      • Figure 35: Downy Philippines Facebook post, March 2021
    • More consideration for supporting Gen X parents is also necessary
      • Figure 36: Suicide Zero Instagram post, June 2021
      • Figure 37: Netflix Instagram post, April 2020
  9. How Gen Zs See Themselves vs Others their Age

    • Gen Zs see themselves as motivated
      • Figure 38: Top three words that best describe you (any rank), Gen Zs vs overall, 2021
    • Tap into dynamic experiences that are entertaining and include a dash of education
      • Figure 39: Whole Foods Market Instagram posts, March 2021
    • Gen Zs see their peers as reactive and in need of emotional support
      • Figure 40: Top three words that best describe a ‘typical’ person of your generation vs words that best describe yourself (any rank), – Gen Zs, 2021
    • Options to customize products or experiences reflect well-considered choices
      • Figure 41: Sarutahiko Coffee Instagram posts, April 2021
    • Demonstrating an understanding of their current state of mind matters
      • Figure 42: Facebook Pony Malta post, May 2021
      • Figure 43: Sweetpea’s Floral Studio Instagram post, February 2021
  10. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Consumer survey data
    • Mintel Trend Drivers
    • Abbreviations
    • Terms

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