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Canadian Holiday Season: Consumer Shopping Trends

With the holidays just around the corner, people are excited to snag gifts for their loved ones. In a market where supply chain problems persist leading to out-of-stock possibilities and price fluctuations, many businesses can find it challenging to plan for this year’s holiday-shopping landscape.

To help Canadian entrepreneurs gain a stronger understanding of what to expect from consumers this holiday season, we ran a survey through the Angus Reid Forum. The results of this survey revealed that Canadians are planning to support local small businesses through the holiday season and are concerned about their ability to make it through the pandemic. 

As an entrepreneur, here are some key survey findings that can help your business:

1. Canadians want to spend more to support small businesses

86% of Canadians plan to make a purchase from a local small business for the holiday season.

The majority of Canadians (86%) are planning to make a purchase from a local small business for their holiday shopping this season. Many also indicated that their desire to support small businesses is stronger than finding the best deal for their gifting plans. This was highlighted by our survey which revealed that Canadians are willing to pay up to 10% more at a local small business for an identical item sold at a large retailer. 

The factors that push consumers to shop at large retailers include reasons like cheaper prices, better sales, and the option to either pick up or get their gifts delivered to their doorstep. Looking at the data in the survey, small businesses can look to mitigate these factors by offering competitive prices and delivery options for the products they sell.

2. Price sensitivity runs supreme among Canadian consumers

Nearly half of Canadians (44%) would pay up to 10% more at a local small business for an identical item also sold at a large retailer.

The pandemic resulted in a domino effect on the economy and small businesses. As consumer spending decreased and spending patterns shifted, many small businesses struggled to make sales and generate revenue, which impacted employment. Government grants went a long way in addressing this, but the resiliency of Canadian entrepreneurs was unparalleled in surmounting these challenges.

Now, with global supply-chain bottlenecks and higher transportation costs having an impact on consumer prices, price sensitivity is still a key cause of concern among Canadian consumers. 41% of Canadians are worried about higher prices for items, followed by being on a tighter budget (18%) compared to previous years. 

Entrepreneurs will have to navigate this fine line of balancing prices compared to their costs and the expectations of consumers’ willingness to spend more this holiday season.

3. Canadians expect to do less online shopping this year

83% of Canadians care more about supporting local small businesses during this holiday season compared to previous years.

No one can deny the rise of online shopping, but most Canadians find their favourite small business in traditional ways including window shopping (59%) and word of mouth (55%). Nearly 1 in 3 (28%) of Canadians expect to do less online shopping this holiday season, with 79% of consumers feeling comfortable shopping in-store.

4. Canadians are proud to live in communities with many small businesses

Small businesses often fill our communities with vibrancy and offer deep value to consumers. There are also many benefits to the community when buying local. 91% of Canadians are proud to live in a community with many small businesses, and 88% believe that being a small business owner is an aspirational profession. 

Interested in more Canadian consumer trends? Read our entrepreneurship revival report.

Growing support for local small businesses is an optimistic signal for entrepreneurs looking to start a new business

At Ownr, we are proud to see this overwhelming desire among consumers to support their local economy and small businesses through the holiday season. This is an optimistic signal to all entrepreneurs, that they are not alone as they look to build and grow their business.

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