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Is your business stuck in the past?

Can your customers find you online?

Are you aware that the average consumer is now smarter these days and actually researches before making a purchace?

“It’s a look at how consumers perceive value now and it’s important for small and medium-sized enterprises to be aware of these trends to stand out in a crowded marketplace,” said Pierre Cléroux, chief economist for the BDC.

The five consumer trends identified by the BDC are:

  • Buy localThe buy-local movement: Consumers are shopping close to home, looking for locally made goods and aware that buying Canadian-made may be a better ethical and environmental choice.
  • Rising health awareness: The aging population is becoming more aware of healthy choices in food, cosmetics and ergonomically designed products. Half of Canadians consider the health impact of a product when making purchasing decisions and one-third are willing to pay a premium for healthy products.
  • Frugality: Canadian incomes are stagnant and debt is high, meaning consumers are cautious about spending. As the baby boomers retire, an increasing portion of the population will be living on fixed incomes.
  • The desire for customized goods: Consumers are looking to get exactly what they want and new technology makes it possible for them to buy it.
  • The impact of the internet: An increasing amount of research about products is done online, even when consumers don’t buy online. At the same time, online shopping is growing and online reviews are critical.

“We see the impact of technology increasing every year,” said Cléroux. Some products aren’t suitable for buying online – cars, for example – but consumers will turn to the web first to research a product.

About 30 per cent of Canadian small  businesses don’t have a web presence, he added.  “And it’s not just having a website. They need more than that – they also need a strategy on the web.”

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