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Chapter 2: the Canadian consumer

Authored by: Gregory Antrobus, J.C. Williams Group and Stephanie Wallat, Visa Canada


Getting to know more about the Canadian consumer both from a general perspective as well as an online perspective is a task you will need to undertake during the “due diligence” process to help with your business case. To assist you with your business case, the following topic areas will be covered in this chapter.

Sub-topics: The following sub-topic, which is specific to the Canadian population, will be covered in this chapter:

  • The distribution of the population

  • The composition of the population

  • Online consumer attitudes and behaviors

Distribution of the Population

The Canadian consumer shares similar attitudes and behaviors on a variety of issues with their U.S. counterparts. However, in the area of online and particularly cross- border shopping, those attitudes and behaviors may differ markedly.

To ensure that you are able to discern where those similarities and differences occur, some initial questions you may want to pose include the following:

  • How many Canadians are there?

  • Where do they reside?

  • What is the composition of the population?

  • What is the male/female split, if your product is gender specific?

  • What does the age and income distribution look like?

  • Immigration patterns?

First, Canada is comprised of ten provinces and three territories. While it has one of the largest land masses in the world, its population is relatively sparse with only 33.9 million residents (www.statcan.gc.ca).

Your pool of potential consumers is approximately 28.5 million, representing 84% of the total population, 15+ years or older. An overwhelming majority of the 28.5 million consumers reside in four provinces (see Table 2.1) and over 80% live in a metropolitan center. By metropolitan center, we are referring to communities with populations of greater than 100,000 people.

Visa e-commerce cross-border handbook for U.S. retailers

Copyright 2010 Visa. All rights reserved.


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