Survey shows Canadians becoming even savvier shoppers



    TORONTO, March 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadians in the market for home
durables products are visiting a greater number of retailers before deciding
where to buy, according to recent results from global market research company
Synovate and its Household Equipment Canada (HEC) survey. The proportion of
consumers that say they shop two or more retailers before making a home
durables purchase has increased 17 percentage points over the past few years.
    On average, for all 180+ individual home durables products tracked by
Synovate in Canada, 42% of consumer purchases in 2005 were made after
comparison shopping two or more separate retailers. By 2007, the overall level
of cross-shopping had grown to 59% for all home durables.
    So which home durables products do Canadians cross-shop the most? Of the
13 overall categories defined in the study, the top five for comparison
shopping are:

    1. Major Appliances
    2. Baby/Infant Products
    3. Floor Care/Vacuums
    4. Small Appliances
    5. Computer Products

    In the most cross-shopped overall category, Major Appliances, 73% of
purchases in 2007 occurred after the consumer had visited two or more
retailers. Likewise, 71% of Baby/Infant Products purchases, such as Cribs and
Strollers, involved cross-shopping at least a few different stores. This was
closely followed by Floor Care/Vacuums purchases (70%). These three overall
categories were significantly higher than the total cross-shopping average of
59% for the entire home durables market.
    "The large number of retail stores and close proximity, especially in
major urban centres, makes it increasingly easy for consumers to comparison
shop," commented Adrian Murphy, Vice President of Syndicated Research at
Synovate. "Added to this is the highly competitive brand space in categories
such as Major Appliances and Baby/Infant Products, ensuring that shoppers have
plenty of options to choose from when making a purchase decision."
    To understand why Canadians cross-shop, Synovate asked what motivated
them to reject a specific retailer and look elsewhere - price and product were
key factors cited. For instance, while average expenditure for a Full Size
Refrigerator is close to C$960, there are some units that cost significantly
more, depending on specific feature-set. This encourages consumers to spend
more time understanding the product and do additional research before spending
a large sum of money.
    With consumers devoting more effort to researching products and comparing
store offerings, including brand selection, retailers are finding it harder to
close the sale. With Full Size Refrigerators, for instance, Major Department
Stores accounted for the largest proportion (58%) of would-be purchasers in
2007 - this is fairly consistent with figures over the past few years. However
the rate at which Major Department Stores are able to close a sale is slightly
soft, due to increased retail competition. For example, the Hardware & Home
Improvement channel has carved out a notable presence in Major Appliances
during the past few years. The recent arrival in Canada of US chain Lowe's
could boost the market share for the Hardware & Home Improvement channel if
their performance with Major Appliances south of the border is any indication.
Similarly while Electronics Stores attracted around 8-in-10 would be Colour TV
purchasers last year, the channel converted just 51% into actual sales, down
from 60% in 2005.

    About Synovate Household Equipment Canada (HEC)

    Synovate Household Equipment Canada continuously tracks consumer purchase
behaviour for over 180 home durables products such as Major Appliances and
Electronics, Furniture and Tools among others. The sample source for HEC is
Synovate's proprietary online panel. On a rolling 12 month basis, over
200,000 survey invitations are sent out, yielding approximately 65,000
responses from over 30,000 separate households who reported one or more
purchases.

    About Synovate

    Synovate, the market research arm of Aegis Group plc, generates consumer
insights that drive competitive marketing solutions. The network provides
clients with cohesive global support and a comprehensive suite of research
solutions. Synovate employs over 5,800 staff in 121 cities across
57 countries. More information on Synovate can found at www.synovate.com




For further information:

For further information: Henrietta Sung, 1-416-964-6262 ext 165,
henrietta.sung@synovate.com

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