Published On: May 1, 2019

If your small business doesn’t have a mobile-friendly website yet, or isn’t active on popular social media; if you don’t have an app version of your services, or offer any efficient payment processing system, such as the ability to accept contactless payments, you better take action now or watch your revenue plummet for the foreseeable future. Wake up – the new generation of Canadian shoppers is here!

They are in their twenties and thirties, have an estimated income of $237 billion, and make up a whopping 35% of the Canadian workforce. In fact, they will make up 75% of the Canadian labour force in the next 15 years. This group of people is continuously hungry for social, online and digital connections and interactions, and is always in search of unique experiences. They are the present and the future. They are called Millennials, and this is what you need to know to make your business relatable and profitable.

Canadian Millennials’ DNA

There is power in numbers; of course, there are many other ingredients that give shape to a generation too, but when a single group directly drives such drastic change in how purchases are being made in Canada, you can be sure that it will get everyone’s attention. This is especially true for businesses of all sizes who would want nothing more than to identify the Millennial ‘DNA’ to get a better understanding of this phenomenon. This includes understanding their behavior. By understanding their behavior, businesses can adapt their operations to meet their customers’ expectations and ultimately gain their business. It’s not just the fact that traditional advertising doesn’t deliver like before, or that these folks would rather trust their favourite blogger on social media to tell them which shoes to buy as much as a close friend; their identities are much more complex than that. This group is much different than their predecessors, The Baby Boomers and Generation X; their core values and lifestyles are drastically different.  By now, their behaviour has been tracked, and there have been many extensive studies conducted, so we can say that we do have a better understanding of Canadian Millennials.

The Optimistic Bunch

While we are increasingly listening to Canadian media outlets reporting about hikes on gas prices, housing markets with no signs of cooling down, and how going forward we’ll be paying even more for basic groceries such as lettuce and kale, Millennials, while preserving their “cool”, reported optimistic views, of their future, according to Nielsen Insights. This, in contrast to older generations of Canadians which reported financial concerns in regards to their future in the wake of these rising costs of living.

Curious to Discover & Experience

However, because of their never-ending curiosity to discover all-things-authentic and to gain new experiences, they remain unpredictable shoppers and will leave any business who is not in sync with them; so businesses would be wise to fine-tune those trigger points to keep transactions coming in. While all of this sounds like an insurmountable challenge, it’s actually a tremendous opportunity too, and if you are on top of your game, you may have those Millennial purchases not just coming in, but pouring in!

Continuous Education, Professional Advancement, Matter Most

Facebook reports two-thirds of Canadians aged 18-34 as having graduated from college. We are clearly talking about an educated group of people, either fresh out or not too long out of college or university; young professionals who are working hard on their careers and dedicated to continuous learning. Research also confirms that unlike older generations, Millennials think less of owning property and consider their success being reflected in good education and acquiring well-paid jobs instead. In the same manner, many of them are new parents, but overall this age group is less interested in creating a family than their parents used to be at this age, with differing views on what a happy life should include. If we also look at the fact that there is a much larger number of Millennials still living with their parents at a later age than previous generations, we can expect their purchasing power to grow even more in the coming years as they start to become the heads of their own households.

Restaurant Industry Fueled by Millennials

 When their much-delayed move-out day finally comes around, Millennials are typically drawn to big city centres, hurling towards all the hustle and bustle; quite satisfied with settling in smaller spaces, which is sort of a given anyway, with urban living nowadays. They are fueling the booming self-storage business which serves them as their second closet. Millennials are also the primary customer group within the restaurant industry, which makes sense since most of them don’t even have a dining room! And also, dining at mom’s for so long may have something to do with that too.

Whatever the reason, one study confirms that 30% of total restaurant traffic is currently coming from Millennials. As they are building their professional careers, they have the money to go out, and they like to go out because they highly value getting social, and restaurants and bars provide the perfect outlet. They like to preview the menu, order their food, and arrange for pick-up or delivery, all online. And their online interaction doesn’t end there; they continue with social media and online reviews to generate social proof. If you are a restaurant owner, you must have a digital strategy in place along with a suitable payment processing system.

By now, reading this, you must have started seeing the vast opportunity in targeting Millennials, and the absolute need for every business to have the latest efficient and effective technologies to serve this segment.

Millennials Favour Local Small Businesses & Brands Representing their Beliefs

There isn’t a Canadian whose heart doesn’t go up a beat when they are in the presence of our beloved flag; and then there are Canadian Millennials who back their Canadian pride with their money. When Facebook asked Canadian Millennials what makes them feel proud to be Canadian, they reported their country’s multicultural mix and accepting nature, and the fact that Canadians are compassionate towards one another. What does this mean for businesses? Well, traditionally, big chain American mass merchandise stores would get the advantage when it comes to Canadians planning their shopping trips; however with Canadian Millennials, preference goes to the local stores and brands, according to Nielsen. While they are picky about prices, they are pickier about the selection of products, and would pay more for goods and services if they were sold by a small or local independent business, a recent RBC study discovers. And that is not all; 75% of them would extend their support to those local businesses by promoting them on social media!

Essential Payment Processing System: No “Tap to Pay”, No Deal

More than Generation X and Boomers, Millennials are drawn to a human story behind the brand and beliefs that they can relate to – there has to be a genuine connection for them to give their loyalty. They are also more likely to consider socially responsible brands, and those with organic and environmentally friendly offerings. But, and this is a massive “but”, even though they value such relationships with local brands, they are not willing to trade in their loyalty at the expense of technology. According to the same RBC report, 80% of Millennials stated that they wished those businesses offered “tap to pay”, in other words, a contactless payment processing system, and 60% of the group desired more mobile payment options . A lack of offering a variety of payment options, such as contactless or online payment options, could be a deal-breaker for many Millennials.

Status:  “in a relationship” with their Phones!

 Canadian Millennials may be postponing getting married or even omitting the idea of relationships altogether, but they are 100% committed with every atom of their bodies to the relationships they have with their mobile phones, 24/7 and in every occasion, living together happily ever after. In fact, a very low percentage of divorces to report here with their mobile phones – zero to none! It has been reported that on average Millennials spend over 3 hours per day on their mobile phones. For them, life happens on that little screen; a place where everything is being researched, planned, checked, booked, and paid for. If money needs to be sent, they’ll wire it from their mobile wallet. If they have a craving for a cup of coffee, they’ll order it from their mobile app. Should they be in need of stainless steel straws to be served with the organic drinks they are having at their weekend get-together, they’ll buy it through their Amazon Prime account; of course, logged-in on their mobile phones. With this generation, e-commerce is increasingly taking place on their smartphones; the Facebook study reports that more than 1 in 3 Millennials stated that they had purchased a product this way in the prior month. Having a proper e-commerce system for online card processing or the ability to accept payments online are vital for many businesses.

It’s Rewarding

Throughout all of their purchases, whether done online or at a bricks-and-mortar store itself, they are also collecting reward points along the way. In addition to store brand loyalty cards, all credit card issuers offer reward cards that gives something back with its usage, so it’s not a surprise to learn that close to 70% of North American Millennials would actually change where they shopped if they would earn more rewards, Bond Brand Loyalty reports . As a business owner, you should consider offering some type of rewards program to connect with Millennials; ideally through a digital app. Short of having your own app, or even if you do, you should definitely have a tap to pay, or contactless enabled, payment processing terminal to make it simple for these customers to tap their cards or mobile devices and collect their payment card loyalty rewards points. visit slickguns to learn more.

The Opportunity for Canadian Businesses Coloured with Returned Love from Millennials

Since Millennials care more about their professional success than older generations, they are often working long hours, chasing side jobs (read: side hustle), or interning just to gain some experience. Their lifestyle is pretty hectic and on-the-go all the time, so they highly value quick, efficient technologies and time-saving hacks. As a business, you can help them out by easily implementing some of these aspects into your service, and the love will come back with interest.

No matter what type of business you operate, there is likely an efficient payment processing system available that can be seamlessly integrated into your operations to satisfy Millennials’ shopping habits. Whether you’re a restaurant owner, a business that constantly moves around to different locations, a car wash owner, a travelling salesperson, a farmer’s market exhibitor, an e-commerce business, or would just like to accept payments online, there is a payment processing system that will work for you and the Millennials you are trying to attract, without any negative impact to your existing customer base.

Is Your Small Business Ready to Serve Millennials?

All of these payment processing options allow your Millennial customers to pay with their preferred methods of payment, saves them time, and provides them with convenience, all while they rack up the rewards points they so desperately desire. This will increase both your new and repeat business with Millennials, and will likely lead to positive reviews on Google, Yelp!, and social media, because Millennials would rave about their excellent experience. The good news is that you do not need to go through this alone. MONEXgroup can be your partner when establishing or updating your payment processing system. One of our team members can walk you through the best available options for your specific business and there is absolutely no obligation. You owe it to yourself and your business to keep up with the times to ensure you adapt and attract the newest generation of Canadian shoppers – The Millennials.

Ozrenka (Olja) Blagojevic Marketing Communications Specialist