Examining Canadian Travellers’ Shopping Behaviours

New Canadian generational data released by Expedia Media Solutions reveals that Gen Z and Millennials focus on crossing off their bucket list and embrace the “you only live once” (#YOLO) mentality, while Baby Boomers enjoy worry-free, all-inclusive resorts and cruises.

The findings, from a survey conducted by Northstar Research Partners, showcase broad travel trends in the Canadian market, including the motivations, preferences and attitudes of travellers across four generations – Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers.

Most Canadian travellers are deciding between two or more destinations when planning a vacation, and visiting family, relaxing at the beach or on a cruise, and sight-seeing are the most popular trip types. Value is of the utmost importance to all generations, and deals help guide their decision-making process. More than 90% of all generations said they look for deals before making a decision, and more than 50% said ads can be influential in their planning process.

“Interestingly, we saw a lot of similarities among the generations of Canadian travellers than we did in other countries, which is good news for marketers looking to attract this audience,” said Wendy Olson Killion, global senior director at Expedia Media Solutions. “Marketers can efficiently reach a broader Canadian audience by highlighting activities and price through appealing imagery and deals, which are important to all generations. This research provides informative insights on traveller preferences and behaviour to help marketers optimize and successfully reach Canadians.”

  • Gen Z travels 21 days a year and although they have a budget in mind when planning a trip, they are the most open-minded when it comes to destination inspiration. They rely on search engines and online travel agencies (OTAs) for planning and booking, prioritize activities and once in a lifetime experiences, and rank highest in the #YOLO mindset (81%) and going places where they can explore the outdoors and be active (84%).

Only one-third of Gen Z travellers have a destination in mind when they first decide to take a trip, and before deciding, at least 80% read reviews of places they want to visit or talk to people who have been. Thirty per cent said ads with helpful reviews can influence their decision.

Visiting family is the most popular trip type (52%), followed by relaxing (47%) and sightseeing trips (42%). At 25%, Gen Z is more likely than other generations to travel for special events, like concerts or sports.

Gen Z is the generation most likely to be influenced by social media (82%) and more likely than other generations to use their smartphone throughout all phases.

  • Millennials travel 26 days a year and prefer to explore international destinations, as they are most likely to travel beyond their borders (65%). Tackling their bucket list, #YOLO experiences and finding off the beaten path locations are important to Millennials, but they also look to fill their itinerary with museums, historical sites, arts and culture more than other generations (71%).

Millennials are the most destination indecisive: 60% are deciding between two or more destinations, signaling they may have destination overload or are ambitious travellers, with a lot of destinations on their bucket list.

More than 44% of Millennials travel to visit family, relax and sightsee, and 25% take family play trips.

Fifty-seven per cent of Millennials said Facebook influences or inspires their decision-making process, but 30% said they aren’t influenced by social media.

  • Gen X travels 21 days a year, chooses hotel stays more than any other generation, and are most likely to travel by car. More than 50% turn to OTAs for planning and booking, and they prioritize activities, deals and the lowest price when booking a trip.

More than half (55%) of Gen X are deciding between two or more destinations and more than 53% look to OTAs to plan, and book their trip.

Interestingly, 73% of Gen X embrace #YOLO and agree that crossing things off their bucket list is imperative, and nearly 70% prefer to fill their travel itinerary with museums, historical sites, arts and culture.

More than 80% of Gen X said informative content from destinations or travel brands can be influential and 85% read reviews before making a final decision.

  • Compared to other generations, Baby Boomers travel the most (28 days a year) and nearly 50% have already decided on a destination when they decide to take a trip. They are more likely to take an international getaway than stay within their own borders and are also quite adventurous once they get to their destination. Boomers are less likely than other generations to stay with family or friends, but are more likely to stay in a resort.

Boomers do it for the activities – next to deals, their priority is exploration. Over 70% will go anywhere that allows them to explore the outdoors and be active, and 62% opt for recommendations from locals and “off the beaten path” locations.

Sixty-five per cent of Boomers said they are not influenced by social media and more than 95% rely on a computer (versus a smartphone) throughout the research and booking process. Once they arrive in a destination, however, 46% use their smartphone.

More than 50% of Boomers plan and book on an OTA, but when compared to other generations, they are more likely to book via an airline, hotel or car rental site.