Know More About Canadian Consumers as They Navigate New Normals

Looking Ahead: Monthly Canadian Consumer Sentiment Survey

Numerator is conducting a monthly consumer sentiment study to help brands better understand when and how consumers plan to resume their normal lives. Each month, Numerator is surveying Canadian consumers to learn more about how they’re feeling, what they’re comfortable doing, and when they expect to return to normal behaviours and activities.

Note: Past versions of this survey look across Canadian consumers as a whole. Beginning in August, we have also started segmenting respondents based on their shared self-disclosed COVID-19 vaccine status.

About the Survey

Numerator’s Canadian consumer sentiment survey is fielded to roughly 1,000 consumers on a monthly basis. All consumers are active members of Numerator’s Canadian OmniPanel. Beginning in August, we’ve broken out responses by COVID-19 vaccine status, based on Numerator’s Premium Vaccine Groups. The breakouts included are as follows:

  • Vaccinated – Canadian consumers who have received 1+ does of the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Vaccine Unsure / Won’t Get / NA – Canadian consumers who are unsure about receiving the vaccine, who won’t get it, or who prefer not to disclose their vaccination status
  • All Shoppers – Includes both groups above, as well as consumers who intend to be vaccinated but have not received their first dose yet
    *Note: Vaccine Status was gathered in a survey fielded June – July

Canadian Consumer Concern Regarding COVID-19

  • Concern over COVID-19 increased as the Delta and new Omicron variant continue to spread. Over half (51%) consumers say they are highly concerned about COVID, up 10% from last month.
  • The Omicron variant is a new and growing source of concern for many Canadian consumers: 30% say they are specifically concerned about the variant, on par with the Delta variant. 46% say they are more worried about the Omicron variant than they were about the original strain of COVID-19, and 51% think it has the potential to push their region back into lockdowns.
  • Among vaccinated consumers, concern is highest over other adult friends and family being infected with COVID.  This concern is followed closely by being infected with COVID themselves and reimposed or extended lockdown measures.
  • Unvaccinated* consumers are the most concerned about reimposed or extended lockdowns/restrictions. Fewer than 1 in 4 (21%) of these consumers are worried about the Delta variant and even fewer are worried about the Omicron variant (14%). A third are worried about becoming infected themselves (33%). This group also has a lower overall level of concern regarding COVID-19.

*those who are unsure of the vaccine, who won’t get it or who prefer not to share their vaccination status

COVID-19 Impact on Canadian Consumer Behaviour & Comfort Levels

  • Comfort levels decreased for almost all behaviours this month. Behaviours with the most significant decreases involved traveling and gathering with friends and family with no mask.
  • Vaccinated consumers show lower overall levels of comfort than unvaccinated individuals, particularly with shopping without masks, going to a bar or club, and attending religious services in-person.
  • Over three-in-four consumers prefer wearing a mask in public (77%), with 7 in 10 preferring to shop at retailers where masks are required (71%) and thinking proof of vaccination should be required for all public indoor spaces (73%). These figures are all higher among vaccinated individuals and lower for unvaccinated individuals.

Canadian Consumer Expectations for Post-COVID Normals

  • Optimism about a return to normal showed a slight decline in December, with just over 1 in 4 (23%) feeling highly optimistic (8/10+), down from November.
  • Consumers are beginning to look ahead when it comes to timing expectations for a return to normal. As the year comes to a close, 85% don’t expect a return to normal until some point in 2022, with over 1 in 4 (25%) expecting “normal” to be delayed until 2023 or later. 1 in 10 don’t expect to ever return to normal behaviours and activities.
  • Almost half of consumers (44%) think a return to normal will happen more slowly than previously anticipated, up from last month (36%). This is slightly higher among vaccinated consumers (46%) and lower among unvaccinated consumers (27%).

Economic Concerns Faced by Canadian Consumers

  • Concern over the economy remains stable and elevated this month, with more than half (58%) of consumers rating their level of concern 8/10 or higher. These levels of concern are fairly consistent across time and across consumer vaccine groups.
  • Inflation is top of mind and highly concerning for consumers. The most prevalent economic concern for consumers is rising prices on essential goods & services, followed by rising prices on other (non-essential) goods and services. Economic recession, product/supply shortages, and job security are also significant concerns for many Canadian consumers.

COVID-19 Impact on Consumer Behaviour

For past insights into Canadian consumer behaviour and sentiment as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic, check out our survey insights from March 2020 through January 2021.

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