Canada's Changing Retail Market

Consumer Trends Update - Summer 2013

Conclusion

Given its impact on consumers and their consumption activities and its contribution to the Canadian economy, the Canadian retail marketplace continues to play an important role within the Canadian marketplace. The genesis of this Update lay in Industry Canada's 2005 research for the Consumer Trends Report. Further analysis has highlighted the dynamic nature of the retail marketplace in Canada as it continues to evolve and change, influenced by its economic environment, technological advancement and, subsequently, the shifting nature of consumer behaviour.

As the analysis for this Update has shown, retailers in Canada are shifting and expanding beyond their traditional physical distribution channels to better deliver goods and services in an environment of changing consumer behaviour and market segmentation. Increasingly fragmented consumer demographics mixed with emerging technological advancements are having a profound impact on how consumers interact with the marketplace in terms of gathering information and making purchasing decisions. Consequently, this has transformed the traditional retail outlet as retailers strive to target, attract and engage with their consumers.

Further analysis has also revealed a renewed influx of foreign retailers in the Canadian marketplace. The global recession has made it increasingly difficult for foreign retailers to achieve desired growth in the U.S. as well as abroad and, as a result, the Canadian marketplace has been observed as a relatively safe and attractive market for expansion to increase their growth opportunities and customer base in a highly-competitive global marketplace. Given the significant level of corporate concentration at the highest tiers of retail in Canada, the expansion of foreign retailers into Canada is expected to drive competition amongst national and foreign actors ultimately benefiting Canadian consumers.

The economic climate and changing consumer attitudes and buying habits have had a palpable influence on the operation of retail businesses. Retailers have had to adapt to Canadian consumers' shifting behaviour in order to remain competitive within the Canadian retail marketplace. Consequently, retailers are modifying and adapting their corporate strategies to maintain attractive prices and products to enhance their customer base and maintain a competitive advantage within the Canadian retail marketplace.

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