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In Canada, Millennials Aren’t All the Same, So Don’t Market as if They Were

More than 7.3 million millennials are living in Canada, making them the largest age group since the boomers. Spanning the birth years of 1981 to 1996, they represent a broad range that encompasses a variety of life stages.

On the younger extreme are students entering post-secondary education, whose tastes and preferences are very different than older millennials, who might be homeowners and parents of young children. A new report from eMarketer, "Media Habits of Millennials in Canada 2018: Five Key Personas to Understand and Target," explores how marketers can approach these consumers.

Listen in as analyst Paul Briggs discusses the media habits of Canadian millennials in the latest episode of our “Behind the Numbers” podcast.

This cohort’s media consumption is fragmented across digital sources and devices. Digital media claims most of their time, but traditional media—especially TV—maintains a strong share of their overall time spent with media.

Knowing what life stage they are in, and how they spend their time—whether they are homebuyers, young professionals, worker bees, online shoppers or activist voters—can ensure more effective campaigns, especially given the more precise targeting enabled by most digital channels today.

Younger millennials are typically students. There were 868,335 students in Canada ages 20 to 24 during the 2015-2016 school year, according to Statista, which was more than a third (35%) of the population in that age range.

Millennials are also young professionals. In 2017, millennials overtook baby boomers as the single largest cohort in the workplace in Canada. In addition to reshaping how companies operate, the shift influences buying power and how consumption occurs in every consumer sector, including housing, entertainment and travel.

On the upper end of the age range, millennials are often family-building. The average age of mothers having their first child was 28.5 in Canada in 2011, the most recent year for which census data is available. Mothers’ average age at childbirth, which factors all births, was 30.2 years.

The Environics Institute for Survey Research published a study in 2017 aimed at segmenting the generation by social values distinctions. The research divided millennials into “tribes,” with associated characteristics like risk-taking, consumer interests and environmental sensibilities.

“Ninety-five percent of everything that's been written and published about millennials in Canada sees them as one group,” said Keith Neuman, executive director at the Environics Institute. “Perhaps the biggest limitation in this discussion is how it lumps an entire generation into a single group, the implicit assumption being that age alone is the defining characteristic. This type of shorthand misses important insights, namely that all millennials are not alike.”

eMarketer PRO subscribers can access the full report below: