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A generation shaping the Canadian Market

Millennials are concerned about the future, study shows

I think the phrase “Millennials are different than any generation before them”, is quite an understatement.  They are breaking all the rules and carving a path for themselves but on a path that was cleared by their boomer parents.

I can say quite confidently that this generation is more concerned about the future than any generation, at their age, before them.  The future includes their financial stability, their health and the health of our planet.  This concern should be duly noted because it is affecting many aspects of millennials as consumers.

Concern over their financial stability has millennials living at home longer, staying in school longer and demanding better jobs with higher pay. I just completed a study called Project Millennial, a comprehensive, Canadian focused study about Millennials, conducted in September 2013, finds that much of the behaviour, that has been negatively characterized as entitled, and overly ambitious, is really just a concern about the future.

According to StatsCan, in 2011, 42% of 20-29 year olds still live at home.  Their decision to live at home longer is largely financial – not so they can be spend thrifts but so they can save for the future and buy a place of their own where there will be long term equity.  They are saving for the future, but they are wise and see the benefit of spending money on things like education in hopes of getting them better jobs.

Over 30% of 20-33 year olds are looking for a promotion or a higher paying job, yet only 3% of them said that being able to afford the finer things in life were among the most important things in their life.  Many of them are already saving for retirement.  By age 25, almost 40% said they were saving for retirement.

As children of the boomers, they have grown up with talk about health, exercise and general wellness.

As the boomers aged they led a revolution in the food and beverage industry demanding products that are made with more natural ingredients, higher nutritional values and better information for the consumer about the composition of products.  Their desire to be healthier resulted to an expansion of fitness clubs.

This has led to a younger consumer, the millennials, who have been ingrained about the benefits of eating healthy and they demand more choices.

As young people they still eat decadent foods that might not be considered healthy but they are also eating more fruit and vegetables and vow to eat more at every meal.  They exercise more regularly than their parents and they have the internet to help them make better eating decisions.

There is no question this is partly fuelled by vanity but it is also a result of the influence from their parents and a concern for their health in the future.

The idea of social consciousness is an idea that has been popularized by millennials.  Young people have always been at the head of revolts and protests but this generation is putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to social issues.  According to Project Millennial they are more likely to buy products that have some relationship to social utility or charitable organizations.  They are more active in their communities and they are prepared to deny themselves certain foods for environmental reasons or to stand up for animal welfare.

This large and highly complex generation is in many ways more mature than the generations before them and certainly more mature than their parents were about many issues including finances, health and world issues.

How this manifests itself in their spending habits is evolving but will take some companies by surprise if we don’t start trying to make sense of them.

You cannot take the actions of millennials as black or white, but understanding a more in-depth picture of them will make it easier to gain their trust, and develop loyal, long lasting consumers.

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