Canadians continue to spend - especially where service is good



    Maritz Research Canada survey reveals Canadians spending on essentials

    TORONTO, May 4 /CNW/ - Canadian spending at grocery and discount stores
over the last year has increased despite the tough economic times the country
is facing, according to a recent customer retail satisfaction survey conducted
by Maritz Research Canada. While Canadians continue to shell out for the
basics, survey results indicate that they are spending less at home
improvement stores across the country.
    Brand consideration determines what Canadians are spending at specific
retailers in each sector surveyed. Among the major discount stores, Canadians
are most likely to consider shopping at Wal-Mart and most likely to consider
shopping at Canadian Tire when choosing a home improvement store. The survey
also polled Ontario consumers for grocery store preferences and No Frills took
top spot as the store where consumers would most likely shop.
    The March 2009 online survey polled 872 Canadians, equal parts men and
women who had made a purchase at a discount, home improvement or grocery store
in the last six months. Discount and home improvement store satisfaction data
was collected nationally and grocery store customer experience and
satisfaction results were collected in Ontario.
    "Although Canadians still appear to have their wallets open, they are
being very cautious and focusing on essential spending. We can see that the
most successful retailers clearly benefit from understanding the factors that
contribute to an overall positive shopping experience," said Robert Daniel,
Managing Director Maritz Research Canada. "In this economy those retailers
that make the grade are the ones who are profiting."
    The survey delves in to what leads consumers to shop where they do and
what contributes to an overall satisfying shopping experience. Surprisingly,
the price of products ranked low on the list of important factors. Overall top
drivers of a positive retail shopping experience within these sectors in
Canada include the look and appearance of a store (grocery only), the
merchandise offered and the quality of customer service received during the
shopping experience.
    "In the current economic climate, retailers have a unique opportunity to
secure customer loyalty throughout the remainder of the recession. The
shopping experience - from the overall look of the store to the manner of
staff - all influence customer retention both now and when the recession is
over," added Daniel.

    Wal-Mart trumps Zellers

    In the discount sector, Canadian Wal-Mart customers are generally more
satisfied with their shopping experience and are more likely (85 per cent) to
consider shopping at the store than at Zellers (69 per cent). Wal-Mart
continued to beat out Zellers by scoring higher on the appearance of the
store, quality of customer care and the value, quality and selection of
merchandise.

    
     Consideration for Discount Stores
     ---------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Discount                     Likelihood to   Likelihood to       Overall
    Stores       Satisfaction(*)   purchase(*)    recommend(*)  Consideration
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Wal-Mart           64%            89%            74%               85%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Zellers            56%            84%            68%               69%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (*)   These numbers indicate a subset of overall consideration
    


    Consumers' paradoxical relationship with Canadian Tire

    In the home improvement sector, results were highly variable, with Home
Hardware and Home Depot scoring high in drivers of overall experience,
after-sales service and customer service. Local hardware stores were also
rated highly in terms of helpfulness of staff and offering the best checkout
experience for customers. Canadian Tire however, while rating lowest in
customer satisfaction, likelihood to purchase and likelihood to recommend,
still remains the most considered by consumers (76 per cent).

    
    Consideration for Home Improvement Stores
    -----------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Home Improv-                 Likelihood to   Likelihood to       Overall
    ement Stores Satisfaction(*)   purchase(*)    recommend(*)  Consideration
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Home Hardware      67%             81%             76%             42%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Rona               64%             84%             70%             65%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Home Depot         61%             85%             72%             75%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Local Stores       57%             87%             79%             18%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Canadian Tire      55%             70%             64%             76%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (*)These numbers indicate a subset of overall consideration
    


    No Frills a favourite in Ontario

    Ontario residents named No Frills as the most considered grocery store
(64 per cent) with the best shopping experience and value. Consumers also
indicated they were more likely to recommend No Frills to other shoppers. Top
drivers for No Frills include proximity and convenience, reflecting the fact
that the chain has the most stores in Ontario. Metro/Dominion stores scored
relatively poor against all drivers while Loblaws and Sobeys performed well on
the consideration scale.

    
    Consideration for Grocery stores in Ontario
    -------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Grocery
    Stores                        Likelihood to   Likelihood to       Overall
    (Ontario)   Satisfaction(*)    purchase(*)    recommend(*)  Consideration
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    No Frills          69%             92%             80%             64%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Loblaws            68%             94%             72%             48%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sobeys             65%             83%             63%             41%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Metro/Dominion     49%             67%             60%             32%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (*)These numbers indicate a subset of overall consideration
    


    Speedy Checkouts and the "Green" Customer

    Two other notable findings from the survey: 38 per cent of consumers said
they were more or somewhat likely to shop at a retailer that offered reusable
shopping bags and that they would be likely (58 per cent) to consider using
self-checkout counters at retailers.
    "We are seeing a trend towards the "greening" of the customer with more
shoppers bringing their reusable bags with them to stores, in particular as
some retailers are moving towards chargeable plastic bags," said Daniel. "As
more retailers offer reusable bags and the self-checkout aisle option in their
stores, consumers will come to expect those services to be standard for all
retailers."

    This online Maritz Poll, which was conducted in March 2009, featured
responses from 872 Canadians randomly selected to participate in this study.
To ensure the data was representative of the Canadian population, data was
weighted to Statistics Canada data for several demographic categories
including gender, province and age.

    About Maritz Research

    As one of the world's largest marketing research firms, Maritz Research
helps many of today's most successful companies improve performance through a
deep understanding of their customers, employees and channel partners. Founded
in 1973, it offers a range of strategic and tactical solutions concentrating
primarily in the automotive, financial services, hospitality, pharmaceutical,
telecommunications, retail, workplace and technology industries. The company
is a member of the Canadian Marketing Association, the Market Research and
Intelligence Association, ESOMAR, the Market Research Society, CASRO, the
Conference Board, and the American Marketing Association.
    Maritz Research and Maritz Canada are both divisions of privately-held
Maritz Inc., based in St. Louis, Missouri. Globally, Maritz helps
organizations achieve their full potential through the Human Dimension of
Sales and Marketing programs by understanding, enabling and motivating
employees, channel partners and customers. In addition to Market, Customer and
Consumer Research, Maritz also provides Learning, Events, Marketing
Communications, Loyalty and Reward & Recognition solutions for their clients.





For further information:

For further information: Allison Stokes, Andrea Ellison, Media Profile,
(416) 504-8464, stokes@mediaprofile.com, andrea@mediaprofile.com


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