Canadian Marketing Trends to Watch Out For

Jun 17 2021


Digital Marketing


Last Updated: June 17, 2021

STI Staff

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Canadian Marketing Trends

A year ago, Canadian businesses were faced with the biggest challenge due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And they had two choices — either adapt to the new norm or perish.

Many businesses quickly shifted to offering digital services online right from our neighbourhood stores offering the same-day delivery services to gym and yoga centers shifting to online fitness sessions.

This trend has continued to 2021 and is expected to stay. Digital operations have become the usual way now with consumers spending a lot of time online for shopping, work, entertainment.

How Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Shaping the Consumer Choices in Canada?

At the beginning of the pandemic, many corporations and organizations started crisis management to meet the changing requirements of the customers and employees. But some small and mid-scale businesses were scrapping around, unable to have a clear direction of what to do next.

But after a while, Canadian businesses realized the do-or-die situation and started adapting to the changing market conditions. Most of the current marketing trends that we are noticing right now are born out of uncertainty and necessity.

The necessity being that the businesses need to survive and can’t sit around and wait for things to go back to the way they were. And the uncertain times demanded businesses to shift more towards digital marketing, sales and operations, even in industries where it wasn’t explored before.

In a Deloitte survey conducted in August 2020, it was found that 39% of Canadians will purchase more from brands that have responded well to the crisis. So, the way businesses carry themselves during the pandemic had a significant impact on the choices of the consumers too.

Deloitte survey source information

Just a year ago, in the same Deloitte survey conducted in April 2020, only 28% of Canadians felt safe to go to the store. But in the survey conducted in April 2021, 51% of Canadians feel safe to visit the store and 31% feel safe to eat at a restaurant.

While the customer preferences are slowly changing as the incidents of coronavirus are decreasing, we cannot wholly do away with online shopping as a good majority of Canadians still prefer that and have gotten accustomed to it.

This is what we’ll be exploring in this blog about some of the major marketing trends in Canada that are taking over various industries and where we stand right now.

Marketing Trends in Canada That Every Business Needs to Know

It’s no news that the pre-pandemic situations are no longer the norm. Canadian businesses have risen to the new challenges and uncertainties posed by the pandemic and have come up with new ideas to serve their customers better. Here are some of the marketing trends in Canada that made it happen.

1. Business Ethics and Values Are Put Under Microscope

A decade ago, not a lot of us were concerned about how our products are manufactured or about the ethics behind the brands we love. But right now, consumers are becoming more aware than ever to look closely at the brand.

Canadian consumers are exploring beyond the products that a business sells and are exploring their sustainable practices, the business values and ethics they live by. And such discoveries are having a major influence on their buying choices.

In a survey by PayBright conducted in 2021, 52% of Canadian consumers said that they would likely avoid doing business with brands that don’t align with their ethics and values.

Paybright Survey

Around 64% of Canadians give importance to sustainability when choosing a business to buy from and 66% buy from local Canadian businesses.

In 2021 and the years to come, more Canadians can put businesses under a microscope to figure out where they stand with ethics that are close to their heart. The mindfulness of a brand with respect to being kind to nature, animals and all people will have a great degree of importance in their sales figures.

2. The DTC Commerce Is Coming Back

Direct to Consumer (DTC) commerce is when the consumers buy directly from the brand’s online or offline store without the use of any third parties. Previously, a lot of us were buying from eBay, Amazon and other similar e-commerce giants that served as a connection between the businesses and consumers.

However, these e-commerce giants absorb a percentage of the sales made which would mean lesser for the businesses you’ve purchased from. So, many Canadians are moving away from buying through third-party e-commerce companies and are preferring to buy directly from the businesses’ online stores.

Many DTC brands are quite active on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat where quick one-click buy options are available. This is making it easy for these brands to directly interact with their customers, lead them to their own websites and make a sale.

3. Influencer Marketing Is Still a Top Marketing Trend

Ever since influencer marketing gained popularity a few years ago, it has only been increasing in value. Businesses are continually relying on their band of influencers to promote new products, get the word about launches, deals, discounts and sometimes, even about brand values.

With more social media platforms on the rise, there’s an influx of a large number of new influencers on the rise who have a definite hold over their audience. TikTok has become a recent addition to influencer marketing for many companies. There are also a few more lesser-known social media platforms with their own set of influencers who are bringing in revenue for Canadian businesses.

Since some buy or acquire followers through unethical means, the brands are becoming more cautious than ever with the influencers they work with. In the last couple of years, brands have started giving importance to the influencers not just by their follower count but by the level of influence they have.

influencer marketing trend
Even those influencers who only have a couple of thousand followers are approached by brands to market their products due to their influence in the community.

Influencer marketing is no longer a one-time marketing strategy and has become a widely accepted form of brand exposure and communications.

Whenever a brand is releasing a new product, the influencers are becoming a natural part of the brand promotions and bringing in a great deal of exposure.

MKBHD and Sundar Pichai interview google

4. Digital Advocacy Takes the Center Stage

2020 saw a major shift in the usage of social media with many brands and consumers becoming more active than ever before.
Many businesses leveraged this increased usage of social media among Canadians to conduct live online events, online interactive sessions and giveaway contests. There were quite a few popular moments online that took the entire world by storm.

For example, the BIPOC movements, magnification of small businesses, local businesses and sustainable businesses were highlighted the most. Some brands got on this trend wave, spoke about the company’s beliefs and ethics and promoted their businesses as and when possible.

This trend from 2020 is continuing to the present year. Many consumers are preferring to buy from businesses that have strong ethics and use sustainable practices.

In fact, in a recent survey by Deloitte, it’s found that 35% of Canadian consumers prefer to purchase more from brands that respond well to a crisis. And 40% prefer to purchase from locally sourced items — even when they cost a little bit more.

digital advocacy deloitte

These socially conscious Canadians are constituting a large percentage of the shopping population and can make a serious impact on the revenue of businesses.

5. Data Security Is Stressed On More Than Ever

With online shopping is becoming a common occurrence, consumers are now becoming cautious about how websites handle their information. For any online shopping website, a consumer provides their name, address, contact details and payment details to fulfill the order — all of which can be misused when they fall into the wrong hands.

Since there has been an increase in the recent security breaches and threats in several top organizations, consumers are wary of the information they provide. The usage of cookies, the terms in the disclaimers, ads and other such security-threatening features are being scrutinized.

Consumers expect the businesses to be open and outright about the way they handle the data and any third-party websites they share it with. They are conscious about the information they provide and the websites they use. And businesses are now aware of customer apprehensions and are taking steps to show complete transparency in the way they handle data.

Here is what you can do for GDPR for instance and we are a completely transparent company, check out our terms – In fact, our pricing is public as well 🙂

6. Product Deals Are Getting the Most Importance

Ever since the pandemic hit us more than a year ago, many of us have started shopping online instead of going to stores. Since many of the in-store companies have also opened online shopping, the competition in the market is stiff.

Canadian consumers are spoilt for options with multiple brands and retailers offering easy online shopping and door delivery. Online shopping businesses have to be smarter than ever to get a leg up over their competition and win their customers.

In a 2021 Canadian Consumer Trends Guide by PayBright, it’s found that 77% of Canadians find deals and sales as the most important factor in their online shopping experience, followed by 73% preferring the fully-stocked stores with products and 67% giving importance to the quick loading time of the websites. Same is true with all that is happening with Google’s Core Web Vitals and we can certainly help you there with our inbound marketing plans.

Paybright survey image 2

Since the #1 most important thing in the online shopping experience is deals, businesses need to focus on introducing unique and useful offers for the customers. The usual free delivery services have become a common feature and companies need to think outside the box to introduce deals and sales.

The end goal of such deals should be to cut down the final shopping cost since many Canadians have been wary of the money due to the Uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

In a recent Deloitte survey, 36% of Canadians admitted to delaying large purchases and 26% are concerned about losing their job. All of such psychological aspects in a normal Canadian’s life can impact their spending ability and therefore, tend to look for online websites that offer the best deals and value for money. We just heard about highest inflation in a decade at 3.6% which is going to increase from the looks of it. If You have been considering buying something even for business, now is the best time, things are expected to get costlier.

StepToInbound's tweet

Businesses are also offering regular deals for the essentials like groceries, sanitary materials, toiletries and other similar stuff. Also, there are new deals on purchases of greater value and discounts with partnered payment service providers.

7. Creating Communities Around Brands Are Becoming a Thing

The term ‘community’ has taken a whole another meaning in marketing for more than a year now.

Community building teams, community managers and community building experts are becoming a real thing with more and more brands giving importance to the way they’re perceived by their audience.

Community building is more than forming a loyal group of customers since the relationship in communities transcends the sales and shows a deeper connection — often with a central theme of causes.

Here again, the brand ethics and the public causes it stands for can play a crucial role to build a community. A brand community is often built on social media with a few executives from the brand playing a key role. From supporting causes that are really close to the brand to promoting conversations between the followers and making everyone feel inclusive, the community can say a lot about the brand.
Many brands are building communities based on the heritage of their products, the loyalty to the locality they’re from, the team of BIPOC employees, or any other public causes.

The brands also conduct live sessions with experts and community members, online events and webinars and offer a host of other activities to actively promote the community and gather new members.

Wrapping Up

The pandemic has brought in a lot of uncertainties in the way Canadian businesses operate. However, the businesses have managed to respond swiftly to the changing customer needs, optimizing their offerings and evolving with the new marketing trends in Canada.

Any new, upcoming businesses in Canada can refer to these marketing trends and strategies that successful organizations are implementing and position themselves better in the market.

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