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Changes in Canadian’s Purchasing Behaviour in April

Canadian retail saw major changes in consumer purchasing habits as All Stores grew by 8.9%, with All Stores Less Automotive up 11.9%, and All Stores Less Automotive, Food and Pharmacies up significantly at 19.6% in April 2022.

Clothing and Accessories Stores saw exponential growth in April, up 71.7%. This is significant, but it also worth remembering much of the country was in another lockdown in April 2021. Ontario was in a lockdown as of April 8th, therefore non-essential retailers, like clothing stores, were forced to provide curbside pickup rather than in-store experiences. This is seen further when breaking down the regional data, with Ontario seeing a growth of around 320% year-over-year in this category. Ontario contributes to a majority proportion of Clothing and Accessories Stores sales in the country; having them in lockdown effects the category’s sales drastically.

Supermarkets and Other Grocery Stores were only up 0.3% in April, which was a little surprising considering inflation. This coupled with Convenience Stores being down -6.8% shows a clear shift in consumer behaviour. The JCWG team sentiment is that customers are shopping the same amount, and spending similarly at grocery stores, but rather shifting in what they are buying. No Name, Kirkland, and other private labels are seeing much better sales since they are the less expensive options when buying food. The team will be closely watching to see how customers continue to react considering there is no break from high prices on the horizon anytime soon.

Miscellaneous Store Retailers also saw a boost in sales, up 24.3% year-over-year. This category represents Cannabis Stores and Pet Supply Stores, which JCWG believes this increase is coming from. Consumers are continuing to spend on their new pandemic pets, and new cannabis retailers are still opening rapidly all across the country. In the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), the team continues to see new boutiques opening on Main Streets and Shopping Centres including shopping centres like Eaton Centre and CF Don Mills, and soon to CF Fairview. Customer traffic also continues to build as our team witnesses firsthand from our office located above the Eaton Centre.

Some questions we are asking this month are:

  • What other habits will consumers be changing in response to higher prices?
  • Where will customers reduce their spending?
  • When will customers shift to more discretionary spending?
  • How will YOU react to the changes in consumer behaviours?

Reach out to JCWG for help with keeping your customers happy and spending, even when they are looking to limit their discretionary spending and join us next month to see how much, or how little, consumers’ shopping patterns change in May.

Canadian Retail Sales by Product Category, Same Month Comparison

Sales for the Month of April202220212022/2021
All Stores60,703,97855,725,6078.93%
  Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealers16,437,91117,431,650-5.70%
  Gasoline Stations6,853,0734,847,18341.38%
All Stores Less Automotive37,412,99433,446,77411.86%
Food and Beverage Stores11,813,07411,668,1001.24%
  Supermarkets and Other Grocery Stores*8,322,3328,297,0530.30%
  Convenience Stores663,459712,203-6.84%
  Specialty Food Stores772,085670,83515.09%
  Beer, Wine and Liquor Stores2,055,1991,988,0093.38%
Health and Personal Care Stores4,540,7224,165,2869.01%
All Stores Less Automotive, Food, and Pharmacies21,059,19817,613,38819.56%
General Merchandise Stores7,778,3556,264,00824.18%
Furniture, Home Furnishings, Electronic and Appliance Stores3,001,9652,615,90314.76%
  Furniture Stores1,174,567951,72323.41%
  Home Furnishings Stores685,429579,55818.27%
  Electronics and Appliance Stores1,141,9691,084,6225.29%
Clothing and Accessories Stores2,883,7141,679,89571.66%
  Clothing Stores2,204,8961,249,41176.47%
  Shoe Stores342,031217,61957.17%
  Jewellery, Luggage and Leather Goods Stores336,787212,86458.22%
Sporting Goods, Hobby, Book and Music Stores1,161,435889,74530.54%
Building Material and Garden Equipment4,243,3884,562,622-7.00%
Miscellaneous Store Retailers1,990,3411,601,21624.30%

Canadian Retail Sales by Store Category, Year to Date Comparison

Year to Date Sales Ending April202220212022/2021
All Stores216,463,956200,690,2207.86%
  Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealers57,080,32855,879,2702.15%
  Gasoline Stations24,323,93118,174,16933.84%
All Stores Less Automotive135,059,697126,636,7816.65%
Food and Beverage Stores44,879,06645,348,393-1.03%
  Supermarkets and Other Grocery Stores*32,211,85132,747,170-1.63%
  Convenience Stores2,486,9102,671,416-6.91%
  Specialty Food Stores2,794,9672,584,8378.13%
  Beer, Wine and Liquor Stores7,385,3377,344,9710.55%
Health and Personal Care Stores17,423,87516,884,4373.19%
All Stores Less Automotive, Food, and Pharmacies72,756,75664,403,95112.97%
General Merchandise Stores26,935,88423,763,07013.35%
Furniture, Home Furnishings, Electronic and Appliance Stores11,388,36410,413,6859.36%
  Furniture Stores4,362,1383,756,83716.11%
  Home Furnishings Stores2,561,4982,259,28113.38%
  Electronics and Appliance Stores4,464,7284,397,5671.53%
Clothing and Accessories Stores9,536,1796,691,01542.52%
  Clothing Stores7,379,5005,037,83746.48%
  Shoe Stores999,478775,86228.82%
  Jewellery, Luggage and Leather Goods Stores1,157,199877,31431.90%
Sporting Goods, Hobby, Book and Music Stores4,006,6823,427,25716.91%
Building Material and Garden Equipment13,898,31514,107,519-1.48%
Miscellaneous Store Retailers6,991,3356,001,40316.50%

Retail Trade, Canada, All Stores, by Geographic Regions

RegionYear-to-date 2022Same period 2021Change 2022/2021
British Columbia 30,671,98830,487,0400.61%
  Vancouver 14,837,03513,970,4466.20%
Alberta 28,001,44327,137,4303.18%
Prairies*42,618,18340,971,9284.02%
Ontario79,694,28870,021,09513.81%
  Toronto35,182,50228,558,27423.20%
Québec48,346,15644,674,1428.22%
  Montréal23,684,11821,424,93010.54%
Atlantic Canada14,392,61813,776,1824.47%

* Prairies = Saskatchewan and Manitoba

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