Ontario Leads FMCG Growth in Canada
Man with smartphone in drug store

Ontario Leads FMCG Growth in Canada

As we’ve seen in other markets, consumers in Canada are making fewer shopping trips than they did a year ago, with trips decreasing by 2% overall. The upside for manufacturers and retailers, however, is that they’re spending more per trip. On a year-over-year basis, basket sizes have increased nationally by 3%. But basket size growth hasn’t been even across all provinces. And with nearly 40% of Canada’s population residing in Ontario, it’s no surprise that it remains a key market for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) retailers and manufacturers.

Ontario accounts for 39% of total FMCG dollar sales in Canada, and sales growth there over the past year totaled 3%, outpacing the national average of 2%. The province is posting this growth even as consumers report feeling that they’re in a worse financial position (21%) than they were a year ago, and 71% are trying to spend less on groceries and reduce household expenses.

So which categories are consumers spending more on? Across major categories (grocery, non-grocery and health and beauty {HABA}) consumers in Ontario are spending more on grocery and non-grocery items, with sales increasing 4% and 2%, respectively. Sales growth in these areas aside, consumers in Ontario say they have plans in place to help them spend less.

The leading way Ontarians plan to spend less is by stocking up on products while they’re on promotion, with more than three-quarters (81%) of consumers planning to employ this shopping tactic. In addition, 67% plan to only buy items when they are on sale, 55% are seeking stores with lower prices and use coupons, and 54% say they match prices with ads to get the best price.

The size and shopping power of Ontario’s consumers are important considerations for FMCG retailers and manufacturers, but so are their plans to spend less. If these plans migrate to actions, retailers and manufacturers will want to pay special attention to consumers’ cost-savings tactics in order to develop plans to deliver on their needs and ensure that they keep coming back for more.


The insights in this article were derived from Nielsen’s syndicated Ontario FMCG Review 2018 report.