In 2018, Canadian consumers made fewer trips to the grocery store (-2%) on average but spent more overall (+3%). In fact, average fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) expenditures reached $8,650. While that is good news for retailers and manufacturers, not all provinces are created equal.
Across the country, Quebec consumers spend the most per household, with average FMCG household sales totalling $9,191. This is nearly $1,000 higher than in Ontario where the average household spend reaches $8,236. However, as Ontario’s population is significantly larger than the population of Quebec, retailers and manufacturers have a significant opportunity to reach and influence household purchasing behaviour in the province with in-store campaigns (e.g., promotions, price checking, merchandising, flyer, out of stock, etc.).
As Canadians spending habits vary by province, where they shop also presents unique intricacies. There are some high-level trends across the country. Conventional retailers still dominate the Canadian market and account for 68.6% of FMCG dollars. However, as more discount stores pop-up in different regions, this retail format is growing faster and is giving conventional retailers a run for their money. Discount retailers currently account for 31.4% of FMCG sales in Canada, but they’ve grown 4% where conventional retailers only saw 1% growth over the same period.
At a regional level, however, Ontario leads in discount retail sales, with 37% of the market, compared to just 16.2% in the Maritimes. Still, it’s worth noting that British Columbia is leading growth with an 8% increase in consumers spend at discount retailers, doubling the national average.
As discount retailers vie for consumer spending, conventional retailers have their work cut out for them. But there are things all retailers can do today to ensure they are reaching consumers, including understanding consumer demographics and shopping habits; engaging elusive consumers by focusing on key needs, like convenience and health and wellness; maximizing marketing effectiveness according to regional differences.
And remember, while price is important, it isn’t always what’s driving consumers. In-store experience plays a key role in developing and strengthening an emotional connection between consumers and brands. Retailers who can embrace consumers through engagement, execution and experiences will win with consumers across Canada.