The $CHEAP Generation

The first edition of the Youth Study, where over 3,000 young people between 13 and 34 years of age across Canada were surveyed, gave us a complete and surprising picture of millennials and Generation Z youth. First, we asked ourselves this question: is the reputation millennials are stuck with as being spendthrifts true or is it a myth?

The Youth Study reveals that this is more of a myth. As always, however, reality is more nuanced.

For one thing, our survey results are revealing: above all, young people between the ages of 18 and 34 want to save on their daily living expenses.

Ninety-six percent (96%) of millennials consult discounts when they make purchases, 66% calculate and plan their next purchases, and this proportion also reaches 66% when it’s time to save on their daily living expenses so they can splurge on something special.

Let’s take the example of a young millennial at the grocery store. He’s not likely to shop for groceries according to what he feels for in the moment, without any preparation and without checking prices. He will make a list of his purchases and then look for discounts on the coveted products to save even the slightest amount of money. The question remains, however: what is he saving for?

Is it to leave the family nest, buy a car (or just finish his driving lessons), invest in a house or condo? Not quite. He would rather spend on something else, geared to short-term needs and pleasure. A millennial is more interested in hedonic spending, whether it’s a culinary experience, a trip or an expensive evening out with friends. In short, a millennial is willing to pay for an experience or pleasure. Otherwise: “why would I pay for that?”

Consequently, the middle market is taking up less room in the lives of millennials, while everything that is fast, fast fashion and fast food alike, remains extremely popular. The ranking of the #COOLEST companies is evidence of this. In the food service sector, the five most popular restaurants are fast-food restaurants, from McDonald’s to Subway. This same phenomenon can be seen in the superstore category, where at the top of the ranking, Costco, IKEA and Walmart reign supreme.

In a nutshell, companies that want to resonate with millennials have two choices: save them time or save them money!

About This Study

In the fall of 2018, Leger conducted the largest ever youth study by polling more than 3,000 young people from the ages of 13 to 34 across Canada. The study draws a clear and empirical portrait of millennials and Generation Z youth coast-to-coast. We are learning more about the behaviours, attitudes, perceptions and values of these two up-and-coming generations, in addition to establishing a ranking of the #COOLEST companies in 10 business sectors, according to young Canadians. This study is an essential tool in understanding and attracting the next consumers. Click here for more information on the study.

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