Canadians will turn away from brands and adopt new tech to improve affordability: EY survey

  • 49% of Canadians say that brands are no longer important
  • 43% of consumers are comfortable with the use of artificial intelligence if benefit is clear
  • Respondents are adopting tools to save time or money, but worry about the impact of technology 

Toronto, ON (July 6, 2023) – The EY Future Consumer Index Survey reveals that almost half of Canadian consumers are turning away from brands in search of affordability, while a further 58% are taking action to reduce spending in many areas of their lives deemed non-essential.

Today more than half of shoppers would consider private labels for clothing, shoes and accessories – an 8% increase since June 2022 – and a large proportion (73%) now prefer to repair rather than replace their possessions – a 6% increase since October 2022.

“With today’s economic uncertainties, Canadians are focusing on short-term lifestyle changes and reprioritizing individual needs,” says Monica Chadha, EY Canada Retail Leader. “They are adopting new technologies to help manage their day-to-day and inform their purchasing decisions.”

Consumers finding technology increasingly embedded into their lives

Canadians growing reliance on technology to manage their daily lives is also shaping purchase decisions and overall consumption. The data reveals that over half of respondents (51%) have socialized with friends and family over video platforms – a significant 10% rise since June 2022. And 56% now listen to audio streams – a big 18% increase from June 2022.

Emerging technologies also saw a sharp uptake, with 43% of Canadians now revealing that they’re comfortable with the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies if it means an improvement to their purchasing experiences. Notably, consumers said they are willing to leverage AI or share data in exchange for customized online shopping experiences (51%), tailored advertisements (43%) or promotions (63%) and pre-populated shopping carts (41%).

“As companies accelerate the use of cloud to build data repositories so they can mine for insights, consumers are increasingly becoming aware that their data is prized and want to weigh the benefits of sharing data against the risks and the value they receive in exchange,” explains Imran Ullah, EY Canada National Cloud Strategy Leader. “How companies balance this exchange is an important part of consumer trust and engagement – this is why it’s critical to tune in to the way consumers think and feel about the digital innovations that are entering every aspect of their lives today.”

Consumers’ response to the cost of living crisis varies by region, but their perspectives on brands is more aligned

What proportion of consumers …

  • Are purchasing only the essentials? 47% in Canada, 49% globally
  • Plan to spend less on grocery delivery services? 43% in Canada, 36% globally
  • Feel brands are no longer important? 49% in Canada, 39% globally
  • Believe private label serves their needs just as well as brands? 67% in Canada, 65% globally
  • Notice pack size reducing but not the price? 80% in Canada, 74% globally

Learn more: EY Future Consumer Index Survey.

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SOURCE: Ernst & Young LLP

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