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It seems Canadians are willing to forgo their favourite brands in exchange for a deal they can’t pass up as new research from Mintel reveals that two in five (41 percent) Canadian consumers say they don’t consider themselves to be brand loyal.

48% of consumers are willing to buy an unfamiliar or generic brand if the price is right.

Virtually all consumers engage in discount seeking behaviours at least some of the time they shop. In fact, 95 percent of Canadians say they buy store brands, including 19 percent who do so every time they shop, and nearly half (48 percent) of consumers are willing to buy an unfamiliar or generic brand if the price is right. Low price points are a top priority among Canadians as nearly two in five (39 percent) consumers buy discounted items, one third (33 percent) compare prices at multiple retailers and one quarter (24 percent) purchase the lowest-priced items every time they shop.

“Canadian consumers are acting on the sales they see when they are in-store and show a willingness to take the risk of buying an unfamiliar brand if the price is right, indicating a boon to retailers. Combined with reasonable pricing, retailers will likely be able to attract the attention of budget-minded shoppers by creatively finding ways to elevate the components of their private label products – be it product ingredients, materials used to make the item or even improving the visual aspects of the packaging,” said Carol Wong-Li, Senior Lifestyles and Leisure Analyst at Mintel.

Despite being persuaded by the price tag, a relatively small proportion of Canadians put in the effort to find deals and discounts prior to their shopping trips. Consumers are less likely to clip coupons (14 percent), search online for promo codes (13 percent) or use an app to find coupons (12 percent) every time they shop.

“As consumers are less inclined to actively seek out deals ahead of their shopping trips, there is ultimately a dependency on in-store signage. This highlights the importance for retailers to connect with consumers through well displayed sale or promotion signs, or leveraging technology that alerts customers to sales while they are at the physical location of purchase,” continued Wong-Li.

50% of Canadians watch their finances but do not follow a budget.

While Canadians are paying attention to the flow of their finances, it seems they are merely keeping an eye on their spending and saving habits rather than following a strict budget. Half (50 percent) of Canadians watch their finances but do not follow a budget, while 29 percent have a budget but do not always follow it. In fact, budgeted consumers are in the minority as just 14 percent claim to follow a strict budget. Life stage plays a role in how consumers approach budgeting, with the likelihood of having a budget decreasing with age. While 49 percent of Canadians aged 18-34 say they have a budget, this percentage decreases to just 29 percent of those aged 55+.

When it comes to the motivation behind managing finances, Mintel research shows that many consumers are driven by their financial goals. Some 49 percent monitor spending in order to save for the future, while more than one third (35 percent) do so to pay off their personal debt. However, there is an inherent enjoyment that comes from saving money for many consumers as nearly half (47 percent) say they monitor their spending because they enjoy finding the best price.

“Regardless of the approach consumers take toward monitoring finances, experiencing joy from finding a good deal is inherent in all consumers. Retailers would do well to cater to general sentiments of maximizing value rather than trying specifically to meet preconceived notions of ‘the budget shopper.’ Trying too hard to do so may be a turn-off to the everyday consumer as it may lead to discounted items, or the store experience itself, to be perceived as lower quality. As such, retailers can find success by fuelling the enjoyment associated with finding good bargains by adding elements of gamification or rewarding consumers for sharing information about sales,” concluded Wong-Li.

Press copies of Mintel’s The Budget Shopper Canada 2017 report and interviews with Carol Wong-Li, Senior Lifestyles and Leisure Analyst, are available on request from the press office.