Canadian Identity and Subcultures

What is the Canadian identity?

Does cultural identity influence your buying? Can a marketer know you by your neighbourhood? Why do some stores ask for your postal code?

What's the difference between English Canada and French Canada from a marketers' point of view?

What subcultures do you belong to?


Consumer's lifestyles are affected by memberships in groups within society. In each group that we are a part of our behaviour is determined by the role we play. Will we buy differently depending upon the group we are with? Would you order differently if you were on a first date compared to say after you are in a relationship for a year?


Subculture is a group where the members share beliefs and common experiences that set them apart from other members of a culture; some subcultural identifications are more powerful; it depends how much you relate to a particular group.

Hells Angel
Elvis Impersonator

see some related ads SUBCULTURES (inside link)

"For the past 14 years, a pair of Dutch artists, Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroek, have been documenting styles of appearance in series of photographs. They go to a city, notice a particular look that seems to recur, find a dozen or so people who look like this and invite them into a studio to pose. The people tend to look a certain way because they belong to a recognizable social group, defined by region or class or style of music.

The "Reli-Rockers" from Rotterdam are all wearing heavy-metal T-shirts; the "Bouncers" all have black leather coats; the "Gabberbitches" (followers of hard-core techno music) tend to have crop tops and shaved heads with top ponytails. There are "Ghetto Fabs" from Paris, Beach Boys from Rio, "City Girls" from London in business suits, "Fly Girls" (hip-hop listeners) from Rotterdam, schoolchildren (all in bright tracksuits and knapsacks) from Beijing, widows in black from Cape Verde, "Tektoniks" from Paris - there are hundreds of images you can browse .. at the website It's interesting how similar this project is to the work of cool hunters, who try to document and label current vogues and then sell the ideas of the subgroups they invent to corporations on the lookout for marketing trends. The most desirable skill in a cool hunter is, I think, the poetic ability to name the groups in evocative ways: It is the labels themselves they are selling. This year's group of toughs in black-leather biker jackets can't simply be called "James Dean" or "Rockabilly"; they have to have a contemporary name to make them the height of fashion - so you call them Faux Angels or Neo-Punk or something cleverer than that (this is why I don't get paid for it). The labels are similarly important in the Exactitudes series. As is the co-existence of so many radically different sartorial modes at one time and in the same city. It shows that there is no dominant fashion or culture of the era." (Russell Smith Globe & Mail, Nov 20, 2008, page R1)

Ethnic Subculture a self-perpetuating group of consumers held together by common cultural ties or genetic ties To market to this target group, the marketer uses members of the subculture and their own language
Heterogeneous Society a society like Canada where many different cultures are represented
High Context Culture group members tend to be tight knit and likely infer meanings beyond spoken word; many ethnic cultures fit this description
Low Context Culture where group members are not tight knit and do not infer meaning beyond what is said; Anglo Americans fit this category

Companies direct specific marketing programs within groups. What specific marketing to these groups can you think of?
We may feel uncomfortable looking at ethnic differences to formulate marketing strategy; but a subculture's membership shapes consumer's needs. Marketers can use Information about consumers' heritage, life and experience, religion, beliefs to decide the type of media exposure. They look at cultural food preference, clothing, openness to new product.

Typically people from subcultures are more open to marketing using their own subculture and more trusting of WORD of MOUTH (WOM)

Visible minorities spend $76 billion a year in Canada and comprise over 20% of consumer market in urban centres.

When a marketer segments a market, they must consider ethnicity to know where different groups shop and what they might buy. There are over 400 ethnic media outlets in Canada. Which ones can you name? There is even an organization Canadian Ethnic Media Association

Consumers often crave new things. You will notice trends in various products. If you think about restaurants, what types of restaurants have become popular in the last few years? Originally that type of restaurant may have been marketed to the original group, but over time it may become popular to the larger community.
Sept 2007 census information showed an emphasis on immigration specifically to Toronto, Vancouver and Alberta; an aging population boomers turning 60;changing family structure-families are small-only 1/4 have children at home, man single household-->smaller package sizes; more couples living together and not married, and same sex marriages. See What Canada's Aging Population Means for Media Read a bit about Ethnic marketing in Toronto

North American Culture vs French Culture

Nike just do it . North American Culture Clotaire Rapaille




Canadians report over 200 ethnic origins. See Statistics Canada on Ethnic Origins

According to Ethnicity Matters"Ethnic groups in general buy more consumer goods than the general population and are more brand loyal. While Canadians spend over $500 billion annually on consumer goods, visible minorities have purchasing power of over $300 billion." 

Aboriginal People In Canada

Approximately 1.2 million Canadians identify as Aboriginal (3.8 % of the population.) Included groups are North American Indians or First Nations, Metis (descended from Europeans and American Indians), and Inuits (only 50,000). They are culturally and linguistically diverse.

Immigration: Minority - Urban

Canada accepts one million immigrants and refugees every four years. According to trends, it is predicted that much of new immigration in coming years will be from members of nonwhite ethnic groups. Most immigrants will be moving to big cities. Stats Canada anticipated that by 2017, there would be 7 to 9.3 million immigrants living in Canada, an increase of 24–65% . They concluded that by 2017, 1 in 5 Canadians would be a member of a visible minority; however, by 2011 1-5 were already visible minority.. Vancouver and Toronto - major destinations for new immigrants: over two-thirds of new immigrants locate in these cities
From Statscan: In 2011 20.6% of population of Canada was foreign born and "In 2011, nearly 6,264,800 people identified themselves as a member of the visible minority population on the NHS questionnaire. They represented about 1 out of every 5 people (19.1%) in Canada's total population. Three in ten visible minorities were born in Canada.
In comparison, the 2006 Census enumerated 5,068,100 individuals who identified themselves as a member of the visible minority population, 16.2% of the total population at the time. "

Make up of Immigration

According to StatsCan: "Combined, the three largest visible minority groups in 2011 – South Asians, Chinese and Blacks – accounted for 61.3% of the visible minority population. They were followed by Filipinos, Latin Americans, Arabs, Southeast Asians, West Asians, Koreans and Japanese."
in 2006 the largest group in visible minority group was South Asians (1/4 of visible minorities and 4% of population of Canada.- Chinese make up 3.9% of Canada
in addition to English and French Chinese, Italian, and German are most dominant languages in Canada; but languages spoken in provinces differs. In 2006, Statistics Canada predicted by 2031,GTA population would be 63% visible minorities; however, the 2011 Household Survey suggests that the GTA has already reached that.
In a Solutions Research Group study in 2006, 52% of 3000 visible minority participants said they rarely saw people like them in advertising.

Difficulties Targeting Groups

Defining and targeting an ethnic group is often difficult because of

Marketer must be careful with stereotyping. The best marketers have people of a culture help to create marketing. The role of religion has not been studied or researched. Can you suggest reasons why?


French Canadians are Different

As of 2011,10 million people in Canada say they speak French, 7.3 million reported French as mother tongue; this up from 6.6 million French speakers in 2006, French speaking account for about 22.2% of Canadian population, second largest market (80% Quebec, 30% NB)

Work on French Canadian identity by Henault, Mallen, and Bouchard suggests that English and French differ greatly; typically English Canadians are practical more social and conservative and tend to save and conform; whereas French are theoretical, more individualistic, liberal, tend to spend and innovate because of the difference between these two large groups, it is not always practical or successful to create a national campaign. If you look at brands of beer in Quebec and compare them to English Canada they will be very different.

Marketing Company Headspace and David Saffran Consulting in 2013 worked to create  “What Québec Wants” a study on the difference between the Quebec market versus the English Market.

The study identified the 5 most significant ways Québec consumers differ from English Canadians

Asian Canadians

Asian Canadians refers to people from the continent of Asia. Asians make up the largest visible minority group in Canada at about about 5 million or 15% of the population. This is the fastest growing group. Most Asian Canadians live in the large urban areas.


Groups considered within the Asian category include: Chinese Canadians; Filipino Canadians; South Asian Canadians (e.g., Bangladeshi Canadians, Indian Canadians, Pakistani Canadians); Southeast Asian (e.g. Vietnamese Canadians); Arab Canadians (e.g. Kuwaiti Canadians); West Asian (e.g. Afghan Canadians, Jewish Canadians, Israeli Canadians, Turkish Canadians); Korean Canadians; or Japanese Canadians. {1}

South Asians make up more than 15 percent of the Greater Toronto Area's population, and are projected to make up 24 percent of the region's population by 2031.[2]

Chinese Canadians make up about 4% or 1.3 million of the population in 2006. (1/3 of visible minorities). Without a doubt, marketers are interested in this growing group because their above average incomes. Toronto has many Asian market centres in the downtown and throughout the GTA.

The Asian group is considered to be one of the most affluent and well educated groups.

Marketing Issues

Just looking at Chinese immigrants to Canada, we can see the group comes from many areas including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and overseas Chinese who have immigrated from South East Asia and South America. Considering this diversity, the Asian/ Chinese market is not homogeneous. So marketers need to consider messages carefully.

Attitudes are influenced by age, education, gender, household composition, knowledge of English, length of time in Canada, reason for immigration, working status before and after immigration, family size, geographic location, marital status and financial status.

There is difficulty in marketing to the large number of subgroups with diverse languages and dialects. Just translating ads, as we previously mentioned with the French is problematic due to insensitivities that may not be understood within the differing subcultures.

Another important variable is Acculturation-how much a person adapts to their country. For Asians this varies greatly.

Marketing to Asians

Chinese and South Asians are different from mainstream Canadians:

Community based sponsorships and connections to opinion leaders within groups are important.


Telus PigIn 2003 Telus targeted the Canadian Chinese teenage/university market with its cute little Telus piggies. They recognized these little piggies as McMug and MCDull from the animated television series My Life as McDull. Prime Advertising maximized the use of pre-identified Chinese channels to announce the program to its target market. Read an article from Strategy Magazine and see McMug and McDull

Word-of-mouth (WOM) is important in developing customer loyalty due to cultures interactivity. See more on Chinese Immigration here.


Consumer Acculturation how culture's adapt to another country's culture
Progressive Learning Model Idea that people gradually learn a new culture as they come in contact with it; how consumers become a part of a new culture. In the process people mixing previous ideas with new and create a new hybrid culture
Acculturation Agents friends, family, local businesses and other reference groups that facilitate the learning of cultural norms
Adjustment Raymond Ng says people go through 5 stages: Honeymoon (immigrant marvels at new environment) Culture Shock (reality sets in) Superficial Adjustment (in new culture day-to day)Stress/Depression, Integration

Regional Subcultures

map of Canada

There is much variation in region although there is an overall Canadian Culture

Regions of Canada usually grouped as Atlantic Canada (East Coast), Quebec, Ontario the Prairies and the West; sometimes BC is classed alone. Regional identification is tied with ethnic choice in some preferences Example Celtic music in Maritimes; Quebec has distinctive food preferences. As in the United States, Canadians identify with east coast, west coast, small town, big city identities.

Food related differences (from Chef Ricardo Larrivée)

  • Atlantic Canadians are most frugal, while Albertans spend more on food bills than other provinces .
  • Women usually do the grocery shopping — except for in Quebec, where men dominate the grocery aisles.
  • Quebec men (along with those in Saskatchewan and Manitoba) help with dishes more than other regions,
  • French Canadians spend more time at the table and drink the most wine with food.
  • Ontarians enjoy the least family table time and wine-pairing
  • The relaxed Atlantic provinces have dinner the earliest. The hectic life and traffic of Toronto means residents eat later around 7
  • British Columbians include more vegetarians, and are into fish, beans, legumes and tofu. (Source: What are Canadians eating?

Quebec market is quite distinct; what works in the rest of Canada does not often work in Quebec; for example, Labatt's 50 is a very popular Quebec brand; but the way the brand has been marketed in Ontario and Quebec has been very different.

The best segmentation depends on purpose

to read about the differences in Toronto from 1951-now see Toronto 1951 and Now (inside link)


Canada Infographic

Bob and Doug
Joe Camadian



The era you are born in creates a bond with others born during that time; as we age our preferences change often like those of our peers; age is a strong influence on identity. Consumers go through similar life passages. Typically marketers target product to more than one age group. Consumers go through similar life passages. We are all subject to nostalgia; products may evoke a time, or youth, or childhood; notice the trends to bring back styles from before: beanie babies, pokemon, the beetle, PT Cruiser, foods

What type of products do you feel nostalgic about? Why?

Age Cohort

An "age cohort" is the group of people in the same age group who have had similar experiences; we talk of "my generation" Do you feel that you have much in common with your age cohort?

Age cohort trends

Population Trends in Canada Age and Gender

Teen Market

After W.W.II teenage conflict between rebellion and conformity put Elvis versus Pat Boone; each generation has its rebels. Before WWII children in teen years did not have income/buying power like today. The term "teenagers" is said to have been popularized by a "Doo-Wop" group (the precursor to Boy Bands?) Frankie Lyman and the Teenagers in the 1950's

Teens use products to express identity, explore freedom, rebel against authority. Research says most important issues for teens are race relations, child abuse, abortion and environment. Teens today have more family responsibility and may be connected to the family in different ways from past generation; many teens have jobs at a young age

Saatchi & Saatchi research describes four conflicts common to teens

Spending and Work

Canadian teens spend $6 billion annually; some money from parents some from jobs. Average teen spends $39-55 of own money on snack food, entertainment, clothing. 12% of younger teens and 27% of older teens have access to credit cards; much money goes to feel-good products

According to a 2007 StatsCan study Canadian teens work more than teens in 9 other countries including US and UK. They average 9.2 hours of school work, homework, paid work and housework on school days and 3.5 hrs on weekends. 16 % of Canadian teens consider themselves workaholics, 39 % feel pressured to accomplish more and 64 % cut back on sleep to get things done. 28% reported working on a non-school day in 2005, compared with 20% in 1986. In 2005, girls for the first time had a higher daily employment rate than boys (23% versus 19%) About 65 per cent of high-school students who can work part-time do. Source: StatsCan

Working part time can make teenagers see the benefits of staying in school, Across Canada, in 2008 the % of teenagers in the 15-19 age group who were no longer in school varied from 14 per cent in New Brunswick to 26 in Alberta with an overall average of 20% according to a 2010 report by Canadian Education Statistics Council. They predicted that students would stay in school longer and seek higher education because of the economic situation


From CAMH’s annual Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey 2010"

Media and Marketing

Teens have long history of exposure to media and are skeptical read See how teens use media teen media, Marketers attempt to instill brand loyalty in teens as these are considered "pivotal years'. Key is to stay on top of change demanded by teens. See the PBS Frontline Special Merchants of Cool online at also see Generation Like on PBs full show here

Sceptical Teens

Generally teenagers have grown up in a digital world and are more sceptical but marketers still may create spoof/shock ads of their own products and then have the kids forward them to friends


According to US reports, teens are driving less than previous generations. They are more interested in technology than driving cars. "Nearly three-quarters of Millennials, ages 18 to 34, would rather shop online than in stores, according to a December survey by Zipcar" They predict this generation of teens will buy fewer cars. Read more in this 2013 news story Technology, not Cars Interest Teens

Teens and Social Media Sept 2018

A report by Common Sense Media gives the following info on American teens



Tween Marketing

Marketers are extremely interested in"tweens" 9-14 who spend $1.4 billion on clothes, CDs movies and other feel-good products, What products, music can you think of that is pitched to this group?

Marketers are looking at social networks and sharing sites for the 18- to 24-year-old category, which has been hard to reach by traditional means of advertising. The next biggest category of bloggers are teens and tweens.

Kids Getting Older Younger (KGOY) is the trend

Kids 7-14 have a large influence on family

YTV 2008 survey findings:

Mass Media Marketing Sex and Beauty to Little Girls

Marketing Food to Kids

Marketing to children can be problematic but one of the most dangerous types of marketing to children is the overwhelming number of messages promoting junk food and unhealthy food. Marketers use a number of different techniques to appeal to kids. As we have seen previously, children are naturally attracted to primary colours and cartoon characters.

Here's Looking at You!--A 2014 study from Cornell University found that people are 16% "more likely to trust a brand of cereal when the characters on the boxes on the supermarket shelves look them straight in the eye. Not surprisingly, the study also found that the gaze of characters on children’s cereal boxes is at a downward, 9.6-degree angle, while characters on adult cereal boxes look almost straight ahead." The study also showed that kids' cereals are placed lower on shelves and the characters on the boxes look down; whereas, the adult cereal brands are placed higher on shelves and the gaze is direct. When the eye gaze meets with the target market, the result is more brand loyalty.


A 2004 report by Henry J Kaiser Foundation suggests advertising is contributing to childhood obesity. They characterized children's overall media involvement as a "disturbing trend." Children spend about 5.5 hours using media each day resulting in limited time spent playing outside. They are bombarded with targeted media targeted promoting marketers' messages. On television alone kids are exposed to some 40,000 ads a year.

In 2010 The World Heath Organization (WHO) said, "An estimated 42 million children under the age of five are overweight, 35 million of them in developing countries, according to the WHO. Overweight is one category below obese." They recommended "limiting children's exposure to television advertising and making schools and playgrounds free from all forms of marketing of junk food and sugary drinks"

A 2013 Ontario report recommends banning marketing of soft drinks and unhealthy snacks to kids under 12 . The report also wants all such items to post calorie counts. See more in the Toronto Star article Ban Marketing of Junk Food to Kids Under 12

In 1980 Quebec banned ads for toys and fast foods targeting children under 13. Professor Tirtha Dhar of the University of British Columbia studied the effect of Quebec's ban on advertising to children and Quebec's rate of childhood obesity compared to the rest of Canada. Dhar found that children in Quebec weigh less than their national counterparts. The study suggested that the ban reduced Quebec spending on fast food by 13% a week. (Source: Global News, 2012)

Child Obesity in Canada- A Report from The National CBC

See the documentary The Weight of the Nation (The Weight of The Nation explores the obesity epidemic in America.) See a video about the Shady World of Marketing foods to kids (caution: contains swearing). see video series on YouTube about how advertisers are making kids fat a trailer for the documentary Food Matters

San Grewal in Toronto Star Feb22/05 says, "Advertisers know little about youth, but still want their attention and money--But twentysomethings are balking at being force-fed images" He talks about how McDonald's tried to be cool by using the term "I'd hit it" referring to a cheeseburger

Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood (Trailer)


University/college students are difficult to reach because they watch less TV and read Newspapers less but today they are increasingly online in the wired environment. The online use of youth creates marketing opportunity for marketers to tap into information gathered from social networks, and search.

Marketers can target universities and colleges by creation of campaigns near campus. In March of 2004, Apple iPod MP3 Player took over two major subway stations, one in Toronto, and another in Montreal (St. George and McGill stations) in a "station domination ad campaign. Both stations are near universities with student interested in music and new technology. See the picture Next Stop: iPod Station. Food service on campus is $250 million a year

What ways do marketers reach GBC students?- Campus newspapers, washroom ads, free sample, give away at orientation

University/College Market is online/social networks/wired

Students spend as much as 11 hours every day engaged with media. Increasingly it's mobile. About 5 % of college students bring laptop or mobile devices, indicating both the increased availability of wireless connectivity. The use of desktop computers is decreasing.

Today's students are wired so a smart marketer is finding ways to reach students there. Another online way to reach youth is through geolocation services where mobile check-ins are allowed. Also the use of QR codes to encourage consumers to scan and get discounts, find out more, check prices.



The following groups are often discussed. You'll notice that the years given between groups overlaps and sometimes are not consistent. While the groups like boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z are talked about not all agree on the exact date and time they end. Use the dates as general guidelines only.

GENERATION Alpha Born 2011-2025


Born between 1994 and 2015 (1998-2010) marketers have noted that this group is born digital

Characteristics Gen Z:

"To appeal to this growing audience, marketers will need to focus on entertaining Gen Z –potentially incorporating self-publishing tools into marketing campaigns — to make a connection, then add a brand message. Let Gen Z take control of your brand by fusing entertainment with user-generated content." Source Gen Z:

Review this slideshare for more on Gen Z

Generation Z and the Future of Technology from Pamela Pavliscak

GENERATION Y - Millennials- Echo Boomers

Generation Y/ Millennials. Born 1980-2002 (or 1981-1997) (aka Echo Boomers- Digital generation) Exact date ranges for Gen y are fuzzy, but part of a digital age. They are media savvy, sophisticated, educated, and wired population to. They are also the largest trend-setting population since the Baby Boomers. They already make up nearly a third of the U.S. population (2012 US make up 71 million), and already spend $170 billion a year of their own and their parents' money." As of 2014 it is estimated that Millennials control 21 percent of Consumer Discretionary Purchasing Power (ages range from 18 to 33 in 2014)

Characteristics of Millennials/Gen Y

NPR in Nov 2014 reports that "But today, Millennials outnumber the boomers by 11 million people — having boosted their numbers through a wave of immigration, just as boomers have aged and started to die" They make up the largest part of US Population. They are the most racially diverse. They are delaying marriage. About 9.2% cohabit .Some are buying houses with partner before marriage. Marriage in general is less important to them. They are the most educated generation.


See this excellent PBS documentary online Generation Like

Female Gen Y

According to Brandweek, "Women ages 20 to 30 represent a $54 billion marketing opportunity for packaged goods companies, but their needs and values are vastly different from the generation before them... Compared to the preceding generation, women born between 1979 and 1989 tend to shop less, buy more during each trip, and frequent supercenters and Walmart more.""Compared to their elders, Millennials tend to use less coupons and circulars. They are also more likely to shop without a budget and make impulse grocery purchases"They may be time and money compressed, but they live in this 24-hour 'on' lifestyle, and so, for most Millennials, it’s more about getting it done rather than getting the best deal," source features/direct/e3ia626985c88bb6872c94a1e8c202584d4

Read about how Gen Y is more cash-strapped and reluctant to ask for financial help from Media Post March, 2012 Struggling Gen Y Redefines wants, needs

  GENERATION X (1960-1979 or 1965-1980) Baby Busters

Generation X is the cohort who were affected by the economic downturn in the first part of the 90s born between 1960-1966,1967-1979

Characteristics Gen X

This group often labeled angry by media, or called "lost generation"; may have gone to day care or experienced divorce of parents; best educated; they are a diverse group. They are forming families with more caution- concerned with having children from a broken home. They are self-reliant practical could be cynical, internet shoppers- they go online and compare before shopping. They respond to sincere appeals; they want facts.

Saatchi and Saatchi identified 4 groups

Cynical Disdainers (pessimistic and cynical about world)

Traditional Materialists ( most like boomers; upbeat optimistic, striving for material prosperity

Hippies Revisited (no-material retro fashion spirituality

Fifties machos (politically conservative, stereotyped gender role least accepting of multiculturalism

How to reach this market? May not be by conventional means. The American Beer Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR)has had a resurgence in the US without marketing! Researchers are finding the kind of people who had ''embraced the brand'' were also the kind of people who detest marketing. PBR's embrace by punks, skaters and bike messengers make it a political, ''social protest'' brand. These ''lifestyle as dissent'' or ''consumption as protest'' constituencies are about freedom and rejecting middle-class mores, and ''P.B.R. is seen as a symbol and fellow dissenter.'' To read more see Now Here's a Trend: Success with No Marketing To find out more about Busters see The Baby Busters (outside link)

Gen X The Forgotten - a bit of humour

BABY BOOM (1946-1966) (1960-66 IS SUBSET OF GEN X)

William Schroer splits the Baby Boomers into two groups: Those born 1946 to 1954 and those born 1955 to 1965. Boomers 1 born 1946-1954- ( 2012 US- 33 Million) they had good economic opportunity and were optimistic. Boomers 2 born 1955-1965 ( 2012 US -49 Million lost trust in government and were less optimistic- were more out for themselves ( see Media Post article)

Many cultural economic changes; after war families establishing families. They have power by numbers. They have a60's mentality now older more responsible and money earners. Products pitched especially to them; for example, Dockers

Women had children later-baby boom echo. What types of products will we see in the future for this market?

Targeting the New Zoomer Market

Zzoomers are boomers who feel half their age and want the world to know it. While segment-based advertising is not new, targeting zoomers is. Advertisers have often ignored the middle-aged altogether or depicted older consumers as gearing down, contemplating life's to-do list before it's too late. But zoomers feel as if they're still 32 and act accordingly. "This is the generation that does not consider themselves old, and they have a lot of money to spend. This is the generation that was at Woodstock and didn't just see the movie," These aren't empty nesters biding their time before a docile retirement. They are middle-aged with more money to spend, now that their actual kids are out of the house. The ads tend to show the concept that following a dream and changing one's life is something very much in the baby boomer ethic.

University of Toronto professor Marcel Danesi has written a book (Mar 04) called Forever Young where he documents society's growing obsession with youth culture.

As the baby boomers enter the mature market marketers have categorized them into 6 clusters ( US Data)

Research from Focalyst, a joint venture of AARP Services and research consultancy Kantar. See the article Media Post from Oct 2006 Boomers



Silent Generation 1928-1945)

Depression Era born 1912-1921 ( US 2012 population 11-12 is declining- this group conservative, saver, low debt, respect for authority. WW II born 1922-1927 ( US 2012 population 11 million and declining( not as focused on themselves) Post War born 1928-1954 ( US 2012 pop 41 million declining) -group experienced uncertainty- they value security and the familiar. 5.5 million aged 55+; in 2021 they will make up 19% of population

Mature market one of fastest growing markets because of aging boomers

According to studies the aging are wealthier and healthier than previous generations "The most successful advertising campaigns targeted at mature consumers focus instead on active and healthy lifestyles and introduce positive role models. Rejuvenated patients cycling with their grandchildren or practising tai chi are far more effective than the stereotype of a frail arthritis sufferer. " Source:

Their health is getting better; market has 55% of discretionary spending and 80% of personal wealth in Canada but are included in less than 5% of advertising

Researchers have identified key values: autonomy, connectedness and altruism

Perceived Age

People think of themselves as being 10-15 years younger "perceived age" Marketers emphasize benefits versus age appropriateness

Mature market suited to segmentation because they identify by age and stage of life and many belong to organizations. Mature want information, and are insulted by ageism. Products need to be adapted to this market. Can you think of examples?

Appeal to them -Generally keep language simple, clear bright visuals,use action to attract, speak clearly, a single sales message; brand extensions; avoid extra stimuli

According to George Moschis of the Centre for Mature Consumer Studies, the mature will have longer life expectancy; seniors are becoming more proud of their age; they are more often seen as role-models in marketing; they are consumers of travel and luxury cars; they are more educated and want independence, and they are becoming tech savvy.

According to a study by the Center for Mature Consumer Studies, older consumers should be segmented by factors such as their needs and concerns, rather than age. Moschis uses what he calls biophysical and psychosocial lines to divide older consumers into four categories.

To read more on Mature Market click link)

Healthy hermits: in good health, but have little interest in staying active or making social contacts. Relatively few consumption- related needs, but good market for tax and legal advice, home entertainment and domestic services. Least responsive to age-based marketing strategies, but can be reached through direct mail and print media.

Ailing outgoers: in poor health, but still socially active and health-conscious. Concerned with financial matters and with security of health, home and assets. Good market for planned communities, health services and leisure industry. Respond favorably to age-based marketing, and can be reached through sales promotions and special services.

Frail recluses: in poor health, inactive, socially isolated and psychologically withdrawn. Good market for home health care, medical services and security industry. Best reached through mass media and cross-selling.

Healthy indulgers: in good health, independent, active and relatively wealthy. Want to live well and do new things. Good market for financial services, travel and entertainment, clothing and high-tech products. Can be reached through in-store displays, specialized print media and direct mail.


Reference as noted and : Solomon, Michael R., Zaichkowsky, Judith and Rosemary Polegato. Consumer Behaviour: Buying, Having, Being. 5th Canadian Edition. Toronto: Pearson Education Canada.



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