Description

“The past two-plus years have been irrefutable evidence of the importance of social connections for Canadians.
They want to spend time together and do so in myriad ways. While market factors may affect how they socialize, the reality is that there will always be demand for ways to spend time together.”

– Scott Stewart, Associate Director, Lifestyles & Retail

Key issues covered in this Report

  • How often Canadians spend time in person with friends.
  • The origins of friendships.
  • Ways that friends spend time together.
  • How Canadians keep in touch with friends when they aren’t together.
  • The most important similarities that friends should have with each other.
  • How Canadians interact with the people around them who aren’t in their social circles.
  • How the COVID-19 pandemic has affected social lives.

 

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

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

            • Top takeaways
              • Market overview
                • Figure 1: Category outlook: Canadians’ social circles, 2022-27
              • Opportunities
                • There are many different ways for stakeholders to succeed
                  • Canadians are open-minded about their social circles
                    • Challenges
                      • Fragmentation makes it difficult for stakeholders to have a universal strategy
                        • The pandemic will have a lasting impact on social circles
                        • Target Audience – By the Numbers

                          • Half of Canadians identify as introverts
                            • Figure 2: Self-identification: introversion or extroversion, 2022
                            • Figure 3: Self-identification: introversion or extroversion, by generation, 2022
                        • Market Factors

                          • Inflation rates will affect how Canadians socialize
                            • Real estate trends make socializing at home more difficult
                              • One in six Canadians live alone
                                • Figure 4: Live alone, 2022
                              • Canada is becoming more multicultural, less religious
                                • One in four Canadians are foreign-born
                                  • Canadians are less religious than they were
                                    • Figure 5: Religiosity, 1989-2019
                                  • COVID affected socializing, but Canadians got back together as soon as possible
                                    • Early pandemic: staying in touch was a priority
                                      • Figure 6: Staying in touch with family/friends: higher priority, 2020
                                    • One year in, Canadians wanted to spend time together
                                      • Figure 7: Most looking forward to post-COVID, 2021
                                    • Social interactions returned to normalcy in 2022
                                      • Figure 8: Spent time together with friends/family in the past three months, 2021-22
                                  • Competitive Strategies

                                    • Starbucks shows how restaurants can embrace their role as social hubs
                                      • Figure 9: Starbucks Instagram post, 2021
                                    • Social media platforms want to be social hubs
                                      • Facebook’s Meta bets big on the metaverse
                                        • Figure 10: Horizons World | Meta Quest 2, December 2021
                                      • Gaming platforms offer social connections
                                        • Companies are giving consumers fun activities to do together
                                          • Figure 11: Lob Toronto Instagram post, 2022
                                          • Figure 12: Pursuit OCR Instagram post, 2021
                                      • Canadians’ Social Circles – Fast Facts

                                        • How Often Canadians Socialize

                                          • Half of Canadians spend time with friends on a weekly basis
                                            • Figure 13: Frequency of spending time with friends, 2022
                                          • Young Canadians see their friends the most
                                            • Figure 14: Spend time with friends in person more than once a week, by age, 2022
                                            • Figure 15: Spend time with friends in person more than once a week, by age and gender, 2022
                                          • One in five middle-aged Canadians see friends less than once a month
                                            • Figure 16: Spend time with friends in person less than once a month, by age, 2022
                                          • Dads see their friends more often than moms do
                                            • Figure 17: Frequency of spending time with friends, dads vs moms, 2022
                                            • Figure 18: Elmwood Spa Instagram post, 2022
                                        • How Friends Are Made

                                            • Canadians make friends through informal channels
                                              • Figure 19: How friends are made, 2022
                                            • Neighbourhood friendships are more common among older Canadians
                                              • Figure 20: Meet new friends in their neighbourhood, by age, 2022
                                              • Figure 21: Meet new friends in their neighbourhood, by living situation, 2022
                                            • Structured communities create opportunities to build social circles
                                              • Work friendships skew to higher incomes and higher educations
                                                • Figure 22: Meet new friends at work, by age and household income, 2022
                                                • Figure 23: Meet new friends at work, by working situation, 2022
                                              • School and childhood friendships play an important role in introverts’ lives
                                                • Figure 24: Have friends from school/childhood, by age, 2022
                                                • Figure 25: Have friends from school/childhood, by age and personality type, 2022
                                              • Multicultural Canadians are the most likely to make friends at places of worship
                                                • Figure 26: Ways of meeting friends, by race, 2022
                                              • Digital communities offer endless opportunities to socialize
                                                • Figure 27: Ways of meeting friends, by age, 2022
                                              • LGBTQ+ Canadians use digital communities
                                                • Figure 28: Ways of meeting friends, by LGBTQ+ identity, 2022
                                              • Young men use video games to make friends
                                                • Figure 29: Make new friends in online video game communities, by age and gender, 2022
                                              • The stigma of online dating is no more
                                                • Figure 30: I have used online dating (% agree), by age, 2022
                                            • How Time is Spent with Friends

                                              • Homes are a common social setting
                                                • Figure 31: Ways of spending time with friends, 2022
                                              • Women are more likely to spend time with friends at home
                                                • Figure 32: Spent time with friends at one of our homes, by age and gender, 2022
                                                • Figure 33: HomeSense Instagram post, 2022
                                              • Foodservice is a gathering place
                                                • Dining out skews older, while getting drinks skews younger
                                                  • Figure 34: Spent time with friends at foodservice, by age, 2022
                                                • Dads are underdeveloped at restaurants
                                                  • Figure 35: Spent time with friends at foodservice, by gender and parental status, 2022
                                                • Chinese Canadians are more likely than average to meet friends at restaurants
                                                  • Canadians go on outings together with their friends
                                                    • Figure 36: Outings with friends, by age, 2022
                                                  • Moms are the most likely Canadians to go shopping with friends
                                                    • Figure 37: Outings with friends, moms vs dads, 2022
                                                  • South Asian Canadians are more likely than average to go on outings with friends
                                                    • Group activities could be combined with other categories to attract more social gatherings
                                                      • Higher-income consumers are more likely to engage in group activities
                                                        • Figure 38: Outings with friends, by household income, 2022
                                                        • Figure 39: The Rec Room Instagram post, 2022
                                                      • Quebec trails the rest of the country in group activities
                                                      • Ways of Interacting with Friends

                                                        • Digital tech drives interactions, but is fragmented
                                                          • Figure 40: Ways of interacting with friends, 2022
                                                        • Text-based messages are the most common method of communication
                                                          • Preferred methods vary by generation
                                                            • Figure 41: Ways of interacting with friends: text, by generation, 2022
                                                          • Phone calls and video calls can coexist
                                                            • Younger consumers are still using phone calls
                                                              • Figure 42: Ways of interacting with friends: calls, by generation, 2022
                                                            • Video calls are particularly relevant for foreign-born Canadians
                                                              • Figure 43: Ways of interacting with friends: calls, by country of origin, 2022
                                                            • Calls are more common among extroverts
                                                              • Figure 44: Use phone calls to interact with friends, by age and personality type, 2022
                                                              • Figure 45: Use video calls to interact with friends, by age and personality type, 2022
                                                            • Social media private messages are a form of instant messaging
                                                              • Figure 46: Ways of interacting with friends: social media, by generation, 2022
                                                            • Social media may become less public in the future
                                                              • Figure 47: I post life updates on social media (% agree), by generation, 2022
                                                            • Women are more likely to talk to friends via social media
                                                              • Figure 48: Ways of interacting with friends: social media, by gender and parental status, 2022
                                                            • Video games have become a meeting place for Gen Z men
                                                              • Figure 49: Ways of interacting with friends: social media, by gender and generation, 2022
                                                            • Video games will become a central social tool for dads
                                                              • The metaverse will need to wait
                                                              • Shared Attributes between Friends

                                                                • Personality types and interest/hobbies are the most important factors
                                                                  • Figure 50: Importance of shared attributes among friends, 2022
                                                                • Younger consumers put greater value on similarities with friends
                                                                  • Figure 51: Importance of shared attributes among friends (% very/somewhat important), by age, 2022
                                                                • Higher-educated Canadians are more particular about friends
                                                                  • Figure 52: Importance of shared attributes among friends (% very/somewhat important), by education level, 2022
                                                                • There are two schools of thought about political beliefs between friends
                                                                  • Someone’s personal culture is connected to their priorities in friends
                                                                    • Figure 53: Importance of shared attributes among friends (% very/somewhat important), South Asian and Black/African Canadians vs overall, 2022
                                                                    • Figure 54: Importance of shared attributes among friends (% very/somewhat important), Chinese Canadians vs overall, 2022
                                                                    • Figure 55: Importance of shared attributes among friends (% very/somewhat important), by language spoken at home, 2022
                                                                • Community Engagement

                                                                    • Most Canadians engage in small talk with people they don’t know well
                                                                      • Figure 56: “I often engage in small talk with people I don’t know well” (% agree), by generation, 2022
                                                                    • Introverts struggle with small talk
                                                                      • English-speaking Canadians are the most likely to chat with people they don’t know well
                                                                        • Figure 57: “I often engage in small talk with people I don’t know well” (% agree), by language spoken at home, 2022
                                                                      • Half of Canadians know their neighbours
                                                                        • Cities are densely populated, but not overly neighbourly
                                                                          • Figure 58: “I know the names of most of my neighbours” (% agree), by living location, 2022
                                                                          • Figure 59: “I know the names of most of my neighbours (% agree)”, by home ownership, 2022
                                                                      • The Effects of the Pandemic on Social Circles

                                                                        • Friendships have ended since the beginning of the pandemic
                                                                          • Young Canadians are the most affected
                                                                            • Figure 60: “I’ve lost touch with some friends since the start of the pandemic” (% agree), by age, 2022
                                                                          • Pandemic-related disagreements were not uncommon
                                                                            • Figure 61: “I had major disagreements with a friend/friends about the pandemic” (% agree), by concern about exposure to COVID-19, 2022
                                                                          • Young men are the most likely to have disagreements
                                                                            • Figure 62: “I had major disagreements with a friend/friends about the pandemic” (% agree), by age and gender, 2022
                                                                          • Disagreements were a likely cause for the end of some friendships
                                                                          • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                            • Data sources
                                                                              • Consumer survey data
                                                                                • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                  • Mintel Trend Drivers
                                                                                    • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                      • Abbreviations
                                                                                        • Terms

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