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Understanding Canada’s Millennial Audience

Millennials are the country’s top digital adopters

In Canada, individuals of all ages are digital consumers. Younger age groups rely on digital media to a greater degree than their elders, but older consumers have become accustomed to digital platforms as tools for activities such as paying bills and staying connected with family, according to a new eMarketer report, “Canada Demographics: Age-Based Digital Behaviors.”

Millennials in Canada are a large group, and one that marketers covet. It’s also a generation that seems unusually focused on financial issues. Good value is important to this group.

Financial struggles are common for this young adult cohort. The effects of the Great Recession linger in a poor entry-level job market, forcing many to accept jobs below their post-secondary qualifications. On top of that, crippling student debt continues to hamstring millennials’ ability to move out of their parents’ homes. August 2013 research by BMO Financial Group found that on average, students in Canada will graduate college with $26,297 in debt and will take 6.4 years to pay it off.

Perhaps because of these economic realities, millennials are also getting married later and waiting to have children. Almost three-quarters of those ages 25 to 29 had never been married, according to 2011 Statistics Canada data, when compared with 26% in 1981.

Millennials are also the prime demographic for digital adoption, as they were born and raised during the emergence of the internet. In all digital categories, millennials lead adoption.

“We were the first generation to transition from childhood to adulthood with the age of the internet and widely accessible information online. That’s what sets us apart,” said millennial Jaime Morrison, a research analyst at Abacus Data, a marketing research firm.

When it comes to millennial use of social media, Morrison points to more than just the heavy usage numbers to illustrate the best way to engage this age group. “Expectations when millennials are interacting with companies on social media are different—they expect the organization to be sincere and authentic. Millennials have a real ability to sort through information that they believe is true or that they trust,” Morrison said.

Millennials in Canada also lead the pack in cord-cutting—the act of suspending traditional service from cable companies and turning to the internet for streaming video. comScore research from April 2013 commissioned by Google showed about one in four of those ages 18 to 24 were cord-cutters, when compared with one in five of 25- to 35-year-olds, and about 15% of the 35-and-older group.


The full report, “Canada Demographics: Age-based Digital Behaviors,” also answers these key questions:

  • How do different age demographics in Canada use digital?
  • What are the key ways to engage these age groups in digital usage?
  • What successful campaigns demonstrate the best practices in age-based targeting among Canada's different age groups?

This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. eMarketer clients, log in and view the report now.


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