Consumer Shifts Show No Signs Of Changing

The vast majority (70 per cent) of Canadian consumers report a shift in product preferences at the start of the pandemic that doesn't show signs of changing, says the ‘EY Future Consumer Index’ survey. From luxury brands to high-tech gadgets, 55 per cent of Canadian consumers are ditching the latest trends and decreasing spending on non-essential goods and services. "The consumer was evolving long before the pandemic and the current landscape has only accelerated those changes," says Lokesh Chaudhry, consumer co-leader at EY Canada. "We're now seeing new preferences play out across the country as consumers ramp up online purchases, look for contactless transactions, and pay closer attention to the environmental impact of international supply chains." While affordability and health and safety are prominent drivers of current consumer behaviour, social and environmental impact of products is quickly rising. Shoppers increasingly want to know where and how products are made and sourced, and about the real cost of what they buy. Preferences for how consumers shop is changing, too, as more look for seamless - and safe - experiences, leading 55 per cent of shoppers to turn to cashless payments as well as contactless purchasing and delivery options. Grocers have perhaps felt this shift the most, with 41 per cent of Canadians who were slow to adopt online grocery shopping pre-pandemic, now depending on the service, making it the third largest household spending category.