Millennials in Canada Still Rely on Print Coupons and Flyers        

By Rose Anthony

Are Canadian Millennials more traditional and savvier shoppers than marketers give them credit for?

New research by BrandSpark International probed the saving habits of Canadian shoppers. One key finding of the report, commissioned by Metroland Media, raised doubts about the notion that young people have abandoned print promotions in favor of digital versions. This might be another “Millennial Myth.”

“More than 80 per cent of the Millennials surveyed select which stores to shop based on deals,” said Mark Baltazar, Vice President and Partner at BrandSpark International, which authored the study in partnership with Metroland Media. “And according to the study, 55 percent of Millennials are ‘omnichannel’ shoppers, using all of print, web, and app-based flyers and coupons before visiting stores.”

While 9 in 10 of all respondents surveyed reported using some form of flyer or coupon before shopping, this behavior was found to be particularly strong among Millennial respondents, with 19 percent of Baby Boomer respondents and 28 percent of all surveyed respondents reporting usage of all available flyer formats.

Respondents were also analyzed by their attitudes towards shopping, and the information they seek before visiting stores. Interestingly, 46 percent of Millennial respondents were found to be “engaged” shoppers: one of four unique consumer segments identified in the research. This type of shopper, which represented 34 percent of all flyer and coupon users who responded, is characterized by heavy usage of both flyers and coupons – not only to find deals and savings, but also for inspiration and to find information on new products.

Other segments included:

  • Deal-Seeking (19 percent): Driven by their need to save money, Deal Seekers target stores and products that will help them stay within a predetermined budget – whether the need comes from lower discretionary income, or a desire to be a “smart shopper.” Flyers and coupons are the means by which they find deals and create a shopping list to help prevent impulse buying.
  • Inspired (21 percent): These trendsetters shop to enrich their lives, and often look through flyers for new products, ideas and information. As with most Canadians, saving money is important, but they are willing to pay more for products that are of better quality and are better suited to their needs. These shopping lovers often read flyers out of sheer enjoyment.
  • Utilitarian (26 percent): Utilitarians are shoppers with little time and attention, and they view shopping largely as a task to complete. While deals and saving money are valued, they are secondary priorities to making shopping trips as fast and simple as possible. They use flyers as a tool to help build their shopping list as they search for nearby stores that carry the products they need.

“It's interesting to note,” said Baltazar, “that 68 percent of Millennial respondents – almost 7 in 10 – fall into the two segments – Engaged and Deal-Seeking – that are characterized by deal-seeking behavior.”

Another “Millennial Myth” the research tackled was the perception that this demographic group consists of “digital-only” consumers. According to the study, 8 in 10 Millennials use a combination of print and digital media before hitting stores, with only 10 percent exclusively using digital flyers or coupons. This suggests that despite their plugged-in lifestyle, Millennials are not abandoning print along their path to savings. In fact, 51 percent of Millennials surveyed actually prefer printed flyers, versus only 25 percent who prefer to view flyers in an app.

“Despite the deal-seeking tendencies of Millennials, retailers and manufacturers should consider leveraging these younger and engaged consumers’ enjoyment of shopping, desire for brand recognition and more spontaneous shopping habits to drive impulse purchases,” said Lisa Orpen, Vice-President of National & Multi-Market Sales at Metroland Media. “In this way, more inspirational content in flyers and coupons can help give brands a competitive edge when targeting this highly-desirable segment.”
The study also uncovered a number of other insights:
  • Flyer apps such as are nearly always used in combination with another format.
  • Those who consumed a combination of print and digital formats were more frequent shoppers than those who consumed only one format. This insight held true across all four shopping categories analyzed.
  • Shoppers use different flyer formats for different benefits; brands should customize content both to the type of shopper they are looking to target and to the flyer medium.

BrandSpark International conducted the study online among more than 1,300 English-speaking adult shoppers across Canada. Data collection occurred between August 11, 2017 through to August 24, 2017. The margin of error is +/-2.7% at a 95% level of confidence (19 times out of 20).

                                               Early December 2017