There is an opportunity for retailers in overseas markets to capitalize on increased consumer demand for Canadian brands and products and increase sales. While 71.5% of Canadian exports went to the United States in 2018, consumer demands are increasingly coming from elsewhere. In a report released today, PwC Canada conducted a survey of 3,521 consumers in seven key countries—Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico and the United Kingdom—on their perceptions of Canada and Canadian goods and brands.
"Consumers in overseas markets aren't necessarily familiar with Canadian companies. If a brand isn't doing enough to identify themselves as Canadian, a customer might recognize a brand name without realizing it's Canadian," said Anita McOuat, PwC Canada's National Leader, Technology, Media & Telecom (TMT) and Consumer Markets. "The positive traits associated with being Canadian like trustworthiness, reliability and quality have created a halo effect for Canadian goods. That's an easy shorthand for brands entering into new markets."
Digital channels are increasing brand awareness
In many cases, a digital approach will be at the heart of establishing a presence in international markets, followed by careful and gradual expansion to other channels as those efforts produce results. More than ever before, people are becoming familiar with Canada via digital channels. Two-thirds of respondents were at least generally aware of Canadian products, and awareness tended to be significantly higher amongst younger generations who are more active on digital channels. Overall, 96% of respondents held a positive view of Canada. Of those surveyed, 40% say they've visited Canada and only 4% said they had no interest in ever coming to this country.
72% of respondents report having bought Canadian products
At the top of the product categories, 89% believe Canadian furniture and home goods to be of the same or better quality, while 88% said the same for food and beverages. Across all product categories, respondents pointed to a greater likelihood to buy Canadian goods in the future.
Partnerships bringing Canadian brands into new markets
The top barrier to purchasing Canadian goods, by a wide margin, was that Canadian products aren't available in their country. According to the Made in Canada report, the current geopolitical environment makes it an ideal time to take a look at readiness for international expansion.
"Canadian brands should look at partnerships with distributors as well as local and national retailers. Many customers prefer buying Canadian goods through a local or national retailer, so making sure the retailer has consistent availability and supply is key to effective international expansion," said Myles Gooding, PwC Canada's National Retail & Consumer Leader.