Press release

17 Nov. 2020 Toronto, CA

90% of Canadians will pivot from brands to private labels this holiday season

As the holiday shopping season approaches, the EY Future Consumer Index survey finds that the overwhelming majority of Canadians (90%) will be pivoting away from brands to private labels as the COVID-19 landscape continues to disrupt shopping attitudes and behaviours.

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EY Canada Coordinator, Public Relations

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Related topics FutureConsumer.Now
  • 89% of Canadian survey respondents will shop online for things they used to buy in store
  • 69% plan to postpone the purchase of big-ticket items
  • 62% are thinking more carefully about how they spend their money

As the holiday shopping season approaches, the EY Future Consumer Index survey finds that the overwhelming majority of Canadians (90%) will be pivoting away from brands to private labels as the COVID-19 landscape continues to disrupt shopping attitudes and behaviours.

“With sudden supply chain interruptions and store closures across the globe, many consumers have had to switch up their typical buying habits to try new products and purchasing methods when their go-to brands weren’t available,” says Lokesh Chaudhry, EY Canada Consumer Co-Leader. “Private labels have grown in popularity as North American retailers worked hard to invest in their private label programs by offering innovative products, flavours and pricing promotions.”

When choosing a product or service, the survey shows Canadian consumers are focused on price (60%) and availability (40%), with 62% of respondents thinking more carefully about how they spend their money.

“Importantly, it’s not just the value-conscious consumers who are expressing a significant interest in private label,” says Ryan Beck, EY Canada Consumer Co-Leader. “Consumers defined by their desire to prioritize local businesses, or put the planet or society first, show high levels of interest in private label products as well.”

The acceleration of eCommerce with a growing number of consumers browsing the web for their shopping reinforces how retailers need to rethink digital transformation agendas to ensure brands are offering holiday shoppers with a virtual experience centered on choice, speed, ease, value and affordability — not just a product.

“Instead of enjoying the fun of the traditional physical shopping experience, consumers are focused on getting through their checklists quickly and efficiently,” says Beck. “Retailers must be cautioned that promotions and sales events aren’t going to cut it. They’ll need to take bold actions to transform how they position products like groceries, decorations, fabrics and lights, that consumers would typically be able to touch and feel, attractive and interactive for online shoppers.”

Despite the digital promotions and marketing communications already flooding inboxes, less than half of Canadian consumers say they plan to participate in sales events, with the majority (69%) postponing the purchase of big-ticket items. But Canadians aren’t the only ones holding onto their wallets tightly — 64% of consumers globally say they won’t buy products that they don’t feel they need, even if it means ditching the latest brands or trends.

“These survey results show how consumer purchasing is going to be fundamentally different this year as Canadians seek out the best deals that give them the most value for their money,” says Chaudhry. “Now is the time for retailers to develop a business-to-human (B2H) approach to services and experiences to stimulate long-term customer relationships through the upcoming festive season and into the new year.”


To learn more about the EY Future Consumer Index, click here.

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