A new report from PwC sheds new light on how Canadians make buying decisions. In particular, the findings reflect the growing importance of social media, buying local, and mobile devices in shaping buying habits.

PwC surveyed 1,000 Canadians as part of its 25-country study. Here are the key findings:

How Canadians use Social Media to Make Buying Decisions

We already know that Canadians are active social media users. But what you may not have known is that many Canadians are actively using social media to make buying decisions:

  • 40% of Canadians (55% under the age of 24) are influenced by product reviews and feedback on social media
  • 40% of those aged 18 to 34 respect brands more after interacting with them on social media

Value vs. Brand

While branding is increasingly important, value is still more influential when it comes to making actual purchasing decisions:

  • 66% of Canadians choose retailers based on prices
  •  Whereas,
    • 43% shop based on selection
    • 30% based on return policies
    • 30% due to brand trust
    • 29% for rewards programs

Local vs. Online Buying

While many Canadians (52%) and most millennials (63%) are likely to buy from international online retailers if prices are lower, Canadians are showing a growing preference for local products and local retailers:

  • 34% choose local retailers because they sell local products
  • 36% buy at local retailers to boost local employment
  • 29% for the helpful staff
  • 27% for better after-purchase service levels
  • 25% for personalized service

Though Canadians like to buy local, they tend to shop online at international retailers for fashion products (57%); books, movies, music, and games (44%); and for consumer electronics (30%).

Mobile Devices & Decision-Making

The importance of multichannel retail experiences is growing as well. Many Canadians are now using their smartphones while shopping to make purchasing decisions: in fact 27% of Canadians use their phones to compare prices in-store.

Of Canadians under the age of 24,

  • 50% use smartphones to access coupons and special offers
  • 31% use smartphone apps to access digital loyalty cards
  • 42% for price comparisons
  • 39% for product research
  • 33% to read reviews
  • 19% to actually pay for products

Clearly Canadians are heavily influenced by who has the best prices. However, there is a growing number of Canadians who are actively using social media and smartphones to inform purchasing decisions – both at home and in-store. Retailer advertisers who recognize this trend and create social/digital platforms to attract Canadians will find success.

Want to learn more about retail advertising in Canada?

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