Online Opportunities from Canada’s Frugal Grocery Shoppers (Statistics)

An Ipsos survey for RBC has concluded that Canadians are becoming more frugal when it comes to buying food. 84% of those surveyed believe food prices are increasing and 91% are tightening their food budget.

Price increases are more worrisome due to a lack of faith in economic improvement in Canada, according to the RBC CCO national overall index.  Only 60% of Canadians surveyed think the Canadian economy is in good shape. 30% believe the economy will worsen in the next year.  RBC Economics, however, predicts the Canadian economy will actually grow by 1.8 per cent in 2013.

In an effort to offset food expenses:

  • 41% of Canadian shoppers are sticking to their budget more strictly and doing less impulse buying
  • 43% of Canadians have cut other expenses (15% use their vehicle less)
  • 57% comparison shop more often

I don’t believe any economic situation means businesses have to brace for impact, but it does mean they have to be positioned to adapt.  If you are constantly strategizing and implementing creative ideas, you’ll be able to steer around the bumps in the road and arrive at your bank relatively unscathed.

For example, a frugal frame of mind presents a number of online business possibilities.  How you can benefit depends on your position in the market, if you’re web-based or offline with a web presence, or if you’re in the grocery sector at all.

Attracting budget-conscious grocery shoppers may include:

  • Offering truly valuable coupons for your food products.
  • Making sure your coupon policy beats the competition with options like combining offers. For instance, if any grocery store in Canada allowed as many coupon bonuses as US stores, they would snag a huge corner of the market because nobody else is doing it.
  • Offer bulk food at seriously reduced prices.
  • Hold contests with grocery gift card prizes.
  • Start a Canadian coupon page or website.
  • Sign up with affiliate programs that provide grocery discounts of any kind to Canadians.
  • Provide content on your website that is related to saving money on food and other necessities in Canada.
  • Consider developing an app. A recent eMarketer report stated, “About three in 10 internet users in Canada say they would be interested in using apps that help them shop for food more effectively, by providing the nutritional and dietary information they care about. Among younger adults, the proportion rises to nearly half.”  App’s can also be used to push coupons to the users or real-time deals while they’re in the store.

How will you help yourself by helping cash-strapped Canadian shoppers? Please share your ideas in the comments below.



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✔ You may also be interested in reading:
Canadian Online Retail (eCommerce) Statistics & Tips
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Digital Business & Marketing Manager at Online Business Canada | Website | + posts

Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In over 20 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and eCommerce websites.

Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on, and, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.

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Deb Brock

Canadian retail needs you in the worst way! 😉 The offline/online partnership is really bad for most stores, including grocery stores. I don’t know how many times stores have lost sales when I get frustrated and leave their website or I can’t tell if their store has something I want, etc.


Health food, organic food, natural food…it’s a growing market for sure. It’s easy to blog about those topics too because there’s always some new research or way to prepare and so on.

Walter V

Food is something that never goes out of style but is subject to trends and fads. There absolutely is a lot of potential in the market but you have to be creative.

Oliver Kerr

We’ve had a great response to contests for grocery and gas giftcards. Easy to ship too.


I’d love to order groceries online but I guess they would have to be local for delivery because who could afford shipping?


Coupons, coupons and more coupons! Shoppers are crazy about them and they draw traffic like you wouldn’t believe! Blogging about food & recipes also brings them in, especially if you include nice pictures for pinterest & other networks.


Selling groceries online may not be popular but selling food is, if that makes sense. Specialty food is a big hit for example. For grocery stores with a website the sky is the limit. They can come up with a system that serves customers and can sell stable food online too if they want. I find most grocery stores fall short on information when there is so much they could publish. Most don’t even have a decent blog. Thanks for the great Canadian articles, especially the stats.