January 14, 2015 06:00 ET

Canadian Millennials Are Very Different Compared to the Rest of the World

Global Study Surveyed Millennials in 19 Countries

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan. 14, 2015) - Young Canadian adults (25-34 years old) are optimistic about the future, fiscally responsible and save a good deal of their cynicism for brand communications according to the Reset Generation, a new global study of millennials released today.

Initiative, a global communications network within IPG Mediabrands, conducted the study by surveying 10,000 millennials in 19 different markets (Canada, U.S., Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, UK, Italy, Germany, Poland, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Russia, India, China and Thailand). They answered questions about their lives, their mindset, how they use tech and how they feel about brands.

"There were many surprises for us in Canada, but the biggest was how negatively pre-disposed young Canadians are toward brand communications," says Sarah Ivey, Global Chief Strategy Officer for Initiative Worldwide. "We're finding that this is a generation for which marketing and brands are less and less relevant. It's becoming harder and harder to connect with them, so clearly we need to go deeper."

Canadian Millennials - their relationship with brands:

  • 37% find brand communication annoying
  • Only 26% agree brands are an important part of their lives (2nd lowest score after Chile 24%)
  • 27% say they're cynical about the way brands communicate with them
  • Only 26% say they enjoy the way brands communicate with them (lowest of all countries measured)
  • Country most likely to agree that brands should get involved in donating to good causes (68%)
  • 55% agree that brands have potential to be a force for good
  • 57% believe brands should be active in improving worthy causes e.g. health, education

The Reset Generation was first coined as a term in 2010, during Initiative's first study of this generation, when speaking to them just after the worldwide recession. Ivey explains that in many ways they have had to continually reset their life expectations. They've dealt with a degree of change that few generations have ever experienced.

"To market effectively to this generation, we must continually reset our expectations," says Ivey. "We found this is 2010 - and we believe it's more valid than ever."

The study lauds millennials around the globe for their ability to adapt, collaborate and create. Canadians surprised again in these three areas.


Coming out of the recession, Canadians are more emotionally and financially stable than most countries measured in the study. They have a fairly confident outlook in terms of their, and Canada's economic future.

  • 67% are confident they'll be financially better off in the future, they're confident they'll adapt
  • 73% are employed full time, part time or self-employed and they're 59% more likely than average to continue on their current career path
  • 51% say they're happy in their current job (increases to 57% of women)
  • 39% have bought/ are buying a home (compared to average of 26% across all countries measured)
  • Canadians are the most likely to have a mortgage (36%)
  • Only Germany and China have more of the Reset Generation saving for a pension (Canada = 35%, Germany = 48%, China = 43%)

For Adam Luck, President of Initiative Canada, it is important that we apply these findings to recruitment of millennials as well. "Given the pressures on this generation we need to recognise that millennials must be treated differently to the generations that came before them. Rather than pushing them along the well-trodden career path, it is better to keep your high performing employees by allowing them to grow at their own pace. As a result employers need to learn to adapt too."


While millennials are inextricably linked to technology, the study finds Canadians aren't trailblazers when it comes to technology.

  • Canada is least likely to 'show room' i.e. use their smartphone in store to get the right price (33% compared to 24% average).
  • 43% worry about making big purchases via their smartphone
  • But 47% use their smartphone for banking and finance, the highest of all countries measured
  • Canadians less likely than average to turn to social media connections for advice (Canada = 24%, all country average = 33%)


Reinvention is a strong theme amongst the Reset Generation, but Canadians are less likely than other countries to shake things up a lot.

  • 38% want to further their education (vs. 51% worldwide)
  • 23% want to set up their own business (vs. 43% worldwide)
  • 62% would like to go travelling (vs. 67% worldwide)

There are 4.9 million millennials in Canada, which is roughly 17% of the population.

ABOUT Initiative

Initiative is a global communications network within IPG Mediabrands, one of the world's preeminent media services entities and part of Interpublic Group (NYSE:IPG). Initiative employs more than 2,500 creative and dynamic colleagues in 94 offices in 73 countries managing approximately $14 billion in billings annually. Initiative's comprehensive range of communications services include: insight and strategy, analytics, media planning and buying, digital communications, branded content creation, evaluation and accountability services and social media strategy and community management.

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