Trendspotting: Getting Ready for the Millennials

Published: Jun 16, 2015
Last Updated: May 12, 2016

For businesses, it is important to know your target audience to understand their behavior and, to some extent, how they think. SBA has a Customer Analysis: Step-by-Step guide that you can use as your template. For this post we will feature

You might ask then, of all the generations, why choose the millennials? Well, one of the largest generations in history is about to move into its prime spending years. They are young, numerous and media centric and is a consumer cohort that could be any business’s dream if research is done correctly. According to CPG trends, their unique experiences will eventually change the way businesses operate and is important to always keep the powerful millennial consumer in mind.

A Snapshot of the Canadian Millennials (Infographic)

millennials infographic


Digital Natives

According to a recent PEW research report, they are "digital natives"—the "only generation for which these new technologies are not something they had to adapt to." Unlike any other generation, millennials spend their days working, socializing, and enjoying their down time on mobile devices. Social media and online videos are dominating their short attention span. According to a Havas Media and Weve study in the UK noted “a shift to almost total dependence on the mobile for so many different services.” It argued that mobile has some unique characteristics and businesses should pay close attention to mobile-compatible content and services.

Brand Purpose

According to a Nielsen study, millennials are inclined to budget more for companies to actively participate in corporate social responsibility activities or add a supporting cause to their products and services. Furthermore, a survey conducted by Abacus Data found that 51% of Millennials over 18 years of age consider themselves as someone who shops for products and services that they consider to be made ethically. This means that brands that show true social responsibility in their branding, products and services will be embraced by a large portion of the millennial generation and earn their loyalty.


The Information Generation

For the millennials, information at a keystroke has always been readily available. Their digital fluency has created challenges in which they are skilled at blocking out advertising messages. Furthermore, according to a research report from Havas Worldwide, millennilas are fond of connecting transactions via peer to peer and embrace the concept of shared economy. This in turn resulted the need for companies to persuade them aggressively (which they do not want!).

Your business can avoid this challenge by connecting with the millennials through what the Boston Consulting Group refers to as the reciprocity principle. For them, transparency is required and through the feedback they express, “millennials influence the purchases of other customers and potential customers.” They engage with brands that allow them to make personal connections and open communication. According to eMarketer, millennials trust user-generated content more than brand messaging and news. Creating and sharing content is a norm for this group.


Millennials are distinguished from other generations by their spending habits, brand preferences, values and general outlook on life. Compared with previous generations, they engage brands on a more intimate level so communicating on the same digital medium as them is not enough.

To end this post, some of the questions your business has to answer are why should they buy your products or why should they be loyal to your company. They are not Generation "How"or "What" but they are the Generation "Why".


Abacus Data. (2010, November 12). Canadians and Corporate and Community Social Responsibility. Retrieved from
Barton, C., Koslow, L., Beauchamp, C. (2014, January 15). How millennials are changing the face of marketing forever. BCG Perspectives. Retrieved from

Davies, J. (2014, August 18). Mobile has ‘changed boundaries’ of social acceptability, reveals Havas Media and Weve study. The Drum. Retrieved from
eMarketer. (2012, February 2). Millennials to to digital word of mouth to drive purchase process. Retrieved from
eMarketer. (2015, March 19). How brands engage with millennials in Canada. Retrieved from
Ferguson, Rick (2012). Born this way: the Canadian millennial loyalty survey. Retrieved from
Hanna, B. (2012, May). CPG marketing trends: changing paradigms. Retrieved from
Havas WorldWide. (2014, May 13). New research from Havas Worldwide reveals shift in consumer patterns. Retrieved from
Jackson, J. (2013, August 30). Know your audience: how the digital native generation consume media. The Media Briefing. Retrieved from
Luna, T. (2013, August 6). Generation Y a tough target for marketers. The Globe. Retrieved from
Pew Research Center. (2014, March 7). Millennials in adulthood. Retrieved from
The Associated Press. (2014, May 15). Millennials have more spending power than parents did - but also more debt. CBC News. Retrieved from
The Nielsen Company. (2014). Millennials: breaking the myths. Retrieved from