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SUSTA's Canadian in-country representatives, Argyle Public Relationships, shared the Weekly Pandemic Tracker report with us (see below PDF). Here are comments and insights about the report made by Alison George, Senior Vice President at Argyle PR:
Leger Research and the Association for Canadian Studies have been conducting weekly surveys to gauge Canadians’ and Americans’ response to COVID-19. This week’s survey included new questions about respondents’ intentions to buy from their own country of origin.
The full survey is attached below. Slides 13 through 20 explore respondents’ intentions to buy ‘local’ in various consumer goods categories, including dairy, meat, produce and beverage alcohol.
When asked how often they are deliberately purchasing products or services that originate from their country of origin, 74% of Canadians and 68% of Americans responded either somewhat often or very often.
56% of Canadian and 43% of American respondents indicated that in the future they will try to buy more goods and services from their country of origin.
Slide 19 provides more granularity on country of origin preferences in specific product categories. We think additional context is merited when reviewing this slide. It is important to consider the time of year this survey was issued. In the summer months, a broader selection of locally grown produce is available in Canada. That is not the case year-round. Also, in Canada, the dairy and some meat categories (poultry) continue to be supply managed, limiting the amount of imported products available to consumers.
The primary reason Canadian respondents gave when asked about ‘buying local’ is to help drive the Canadian economy and support local jobs. (Slide 20).
When promoting Canadian products in Canada, or American-made products in the U.S., putting the spotlight on country of origin may have more consumer appeal in the post-pandemic era.
When promoting American products in Canada, or Canadian products in the U.S., consider putting the emphasis on other key product attributes, including price, uniqueness, quality and availability in the short term. This will depend on the product category.
As the domestic economies recover, country of origin may become less important to consumers – we will watch this trend in the future.
Also – and always – consider these results with the proverbial ‘grain of salt’. These are unusual times, and how consumers respond on a web survey does not necessarily represent how they will behave when shopping in-store or on-line.
The web survey was conducted June 19 to 21, 2020, with 1,521 Canadians and 1,002 Americans. Results were weighted to ensure representative sample of the population. No margin of error can be associated with a non-probability sample, but for comparison purposes, a probability sample of 1, 521 would have a margin of error of +/- 2.51%, 19 times out of 20; and a probability sample of 1,002 would have a margin of error of +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.