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Consumers shop less than three stores for furniture, appliances, says survey

Report focuses on major Canadian retail markets

TORONTO — Canadian consumers don't really shop around all that much for either furniture or appliances, according to the 2011 edition of the "Major Market Retail Report" from retail consulting firm KubasPrimedia.

"Consumers do in fact shop at more than one store for the same thing, but the degree of shopping around varies by what they're looking for," KubasPrimedia Executive Vice President Ed Strapagiel said in a statement.

The results are based on 1,520 consumer surveys conducted by the consulting firm this year and cover 33 product categories. The report concentrates on Canada's major markets - Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

According to this year's findings, women's clothing is the most widely shopped category with an average of 4.0 retailers shopped. The least shopped category is prescription drugs at 1.4 stores. Across all product categories, the consumer on average shopped 21.6 stores.

One perhaps surprising result is that while reward programs have had some success at keeping customers returning to stores, the most effective way to preserve customer loyalty is "service, irrespective of discounts, that locks people in, whether implicitly or explicitly," Strapagiel said.

The survey also rejected a common belief about big ticket goods.

"Conventional wisdom is that the more expensive the purchase, the more that consumers will shop around for it," Strapagiel said. "There are two ‘big ticket' items in our list of 33 product categories and furniture ranks No. 11 while major appliances is No. 27 on the shopping around scale."

The average number of furniture stores shopped is about 2.7 while for major appliances it's about 2.2. Furniture ranks about the same as entertainment, electronics, cosmetics and toys on the "shopped around" scale.

Home décor and accessories ranked slightly higher than furniture at 2.9 stores shopped.

Strapagiel said it's difficult to compare the results of the 2011 MMRR to the last one published in 2008 as the methodology for collecting data changed somewhat. However, the ranking for furniture and major appliances on the "shopping around" scale haven't changed all that much since 2000, he said.

Only five categories on the latest survey - men's casual wear, children's wear, personal care products, women's casual wear and women's dress wear - went over the 3.0 stores shopped. Only two - communications electronics and prescription drugs - fell under 2.0 stores shopped.

For more information about the Major Market Retail Report, visit the KubasPrimedia website at www.kubas.com.

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