COVID-19: Voice of Canadians and impact to retailers

How Canadian consumers’ behaviours have changed – and will continue to change.

To help the retail industry move forward in these incredibly difficult times, Deloitte Canada explores how Canadians’ shopping and spending habits are changing in light of this global pandemic.

From March 16 to 18, 2020, we surveyed 1,000 Canadian consumers from coast to coast to coast to gain insights into their confidence about Canada’s economy and their own personal financial situation. We also investigated how Canadian consumers’ behaviours have changed—and will continue to change—as they, and the world, deal with the impact of COVID-19.

The article shares our survey results along with the following topics:

  • A macro-economic outlook of Canada’s retail sector. The economic and financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have fundamentally changed the outlook for retail spending.
  • Canadian consumer perspectives during COVID-19. Our survey results show that Canadians expect the economy to take a big hit in the months to come and are slashing discretionary spending.
  • Consumers and the retail world won’t be the same. It may take months, a year, or even longer for the world to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, yet consumer behavior may take more time to return to what it was—if it ever does.
  • This is a time for retailers to be authentic and show they care. The COVID-19 pandemic has created an opportunity for retailers to live up to and demonstrate their values, to act with purpose, and to show they care about more than the bottom line.
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