Generation Z and Tinseltown Mall

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Here are a few tips about sources, subject headings, and strategies that you may want to start with. Note that these tips are just a start: think broadly about the sort of information you need and about who might have that information (government/association/academic/news/etc.).

Note: If you've never visited the International Village (Tinseltown) Mall, you might want to start by checking out their site. See, also, this CBC News story.

Articles in journals, magazines, and newspapers

A. Try searching in Business Source Complete using combinations of the subjects listed below.

  • Generation Z
  • Generations
  • Shopping centers
  • Shopping malls
  • Retail industry
  • Retail stores
  • Big box stores
  • Lifestyle centers (shopping centers)
  • Consumer behavior
  • Consumers' preferences
  • Marketing
  • Marketing strategy
  • Target marketing
  • Brand image
  • Start with my initial rough search in BSC. Tip: Sort that result list by relevance to pull key articles to the top.
  • Note that one of the magazines covered in Business Source Complete is Shopping Centers Today, published by same organization (ICSC) that is mentioned in Other Resources - "H" below.

B. For more of a Canadian perspective, try CBCA Complete and look for articles using the same terms (as keywords rather than subjects) that you used in Business Source Complete. Also try Canadian Newsstream for Canadian newspaper articles. (Remember that newspaper articles can be great ways to learn about key researchers and publications on a topic. Follow those leads!)


A. Use the SFU Library catalogue to search for the many books and ebooks we have on topics such as Gen Z, marketing, retailing, and more.

Start with some of the same terms you used in your Business Source Complete searches. In general, remember that you should think more broadly to find useful books: a recent book on retailing or consumer trends may be useful even if it doesn't mention Gen Z. And a book on Millennial consumers may have a chapter on Gen Z.

A few titles that came up in my initial searches:

Other resources

A. Passport is more focused on country-level statistics and trends, so it is unlikely to have much on Vancouver or BC. It does, however, provide some articles on Gen Z behaviours and on retailing trends that may be useful. For example, my first quick search of the database got me such reports and tables as:

  • Generation Z: The Next Wave of Consumers
  • Key Traits of Generation Z
  • Make Way for Generation Z: Marketing to Today’s Tweens and Teens
  • Tomorrow’s Big Spenders: The Global Student Market
  • How Retailers and Brands Should Prepare for Generation Z
  • The New Definition of Convenience Retail
  • Retailing in Canada
  • Internet Retailing in Canada
  • Repositioning global malls to reflect consumer behaviour
  • The Reinvention of the Mall: How Shopping Centres are Adapting to Global Buying Habits

B. If you think you need some demographic statistics so that you can understand better the relative size of the different generations, start with sources such as...

  • SimplyAnalytics - demographic and broad spending data mappable at the small neighbourhood level throughout Canada. Also includes mappable psychographic cluster information. Note that there are help videos available within this powerful database.
  • Passport - has very detailed demographic data (with forecasts), but only at a national/global level. Might be useful for talking about international trends.

C. Our Vividata database has some interesting demographic data on the consumers of different products and services in Canada. Check out, in particular, their "Shopping and Apparel" section for data on the consumers who visit "Shopping Malls/Districts", but also check out other categories to get an idea what brands and services seem to be common hits among Gen Z people. And if you want to dig deep into psychographic statements, the "Personal Characteristics/Views" section of the database covers some "Shop - Views" topics that might be useful.

  • Note: Vividata is very complex to use. First read our Introduction to Vividata guide, then ask for help in the library if needed. Expect to invest a substantial amount of time if you want to master this database.

D. A few random reports that came up in my initial searches and seem potentially useful.

E. Some BUS 360W topics have touched on similar topics in the past. The research guides prepared for those topics may have resources that you would find useful, although some of the links may now be broken. Start with this guide: Retailer Response to Showrooming & Webrooming

F. Statista might have some useful charts and stats relevant to this topic. Start with a search for "shopping center" or even just a search for "malls", but also try this search for "generation z". Be sure to check the Source tab next to any charts to see if there is a link back to the original source.

G. The International Council of Shopping Centers restricts access to most of their research information for members, but some of it is free. Possibly worth browsing to find things such as Shopping Centers: America's First and Foremost Marketplace and The Future of the Shopping Center Industry.

  • Similarly, the Retail Council of Canada tends to not provide free access to their reports, but some are available, such as...
  • The (US) National Retail Federation has a number of posts and articles that mention Gen Z.
  • And the Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity (a research institute out of Ryerson) provides free access to many of its Research Insights.

<No further suggestions yet - but keep checking. Also, don't forget that this is your wiki: you are welcome to add any tips here whenever you'd like. --- MB>