New Survey Reveals More Than 80% of Canadians Care More About Supporting Local Businesses This Holiday Season Because of the Pandemic and Economic Concerns

A survey of Canadians by Ownr, an RBC Ventures company, reveals their attitudes towards shopping local this holiday season and the factors influencing their choice between small businesses and large retailers

TORONTO--()--Ownr, the leading platform for Canadian entrepreneurs to register and manage their business, released new data today that uncovers how more Canadians are planning to support local small businesses this holiday season, motivated by concerns about their ability to survive amidst the pandemic. The survey, conducted through the Angus Reid Forum, reveals that while the majority of Canadians plan to make a purchase from a local small business, many are divided in their plans for shopping with large retailers.

Survey highlights include:

  • 83% of Canadians care more about supporting local small businesses during this holiday season than in previous years because of the pandemic.
  • 86% of Canadians are worried about their local small businesses closing permanently in the near future.
  • The top three reasons that some Canadians choose to do all or most of their shopping at small businesses are because they 1) want to support the local economy and jobs, 2) know small businesses need the revenue, 3) have a preference for buying products made in Canada.
  • Nearly 3 in 10 (28%) Canadians expect to do less online shopping this holiday season than last year, while more than half (56%) expect to do about the same amount.

Canadians are willing to spend more to support small businesses

The majority of Canadians (86%) plan to make a purchase from a local small business for their holiday shopping this season, with some indicating that their desire to support small businesses is stronger than finding the best deal. The survey found that nearly half of Canadians (44%) would be willing to pay up to 10% more at a local small business for an identical item also sold at a large retailer.

Despite this, price still weighs high in factors influencing consumers to opt for large retailers. Alongside perceived better sales and the option to deliver or pickup, the expectation of cheaper prices was among the top three reasons that 45% of Canadians plan to do most or all of their shopping at large retailers.

“The shopping habits of Canadians are being influenced by the reality that small businesses have been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic,” said Shadi McIsaac, CEO of Ownr. “The positive sentiments towards supporting local small businesses is an optimistic signal to business owners, many who are still struggling with increased debt brought on by the pandemic.”

Increased prices among top concerns for Canadians moving into the holiday season

Among the top concerns facing consumers as they begin planning for holiday shopping, experiencing higher prices for items was ranked number one by 41% of Canadians, followed by being on a tighter budget than in previous years (18%) and finding items out of stock (14%).

The findings were consistent among Canadians who are planning to spend more money on holiday shopping compared to last year. Half (52%) of Canadians looking to spend more reported it was because they expect things will cost more due to supply chain disruptions and inflation.

“Increased transport costs as a result of global supply-chain bottlenecks are being passed on to buyers, and our survey shows that Canadians are not expecting their dollar to stretch as far this holiday season,” said Derek Hopfner, Chief Revenue Officer at Ownr. “Despite lower purchasing power, the overwhelming desire among consumers to support their local economy could be a much needed lifeline for small businesses.”

Additional findings include:

  • 79% of Canadians feel comfortable shopping in-store this holiday season despite the ongoing pandemic.
  • 65% of Canadians who plan to spend less money on holiday shopping report having less expendable income than last year.
  • 3 in 10 (28%) Canadians who plan to spend more money on holiday shopping than last year report they expect to have more gatherings with family and friends.
  • Most Canadians found their favourite local small business in traditional ways including window shopping (59%) and word of mouth (55%).
  • 91% of Canadians are proud to live in a community with many small businesses.
  • 88% of Canadians believe being a small business owner is an aspirational profession.

About Ownr

Ownr makes it simpler and more affordable for businesses to start and succeed. We know that starting and running a business takes a huge amount of effort. By simplifying and automating business formation and everyday legal work, we help small businesses thrive. Ownr has helped over 50,000 Canadians launch their dreams since 2017. Ownr is operated by RBC Ventures Inc., a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada. For more information, visit

Methodology: These are the findings of a survey commissioned by Ownr from October 22-24, 2021 among a nationally representative sample of 1,538 Canadians who are members of the online Angus Reid Forum, balanced and weighted on age, gender, region and education. For comparison purposes only, a sample of this size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The survey was offered in English or French.


Megan Stangl | | 647-801-0120


Megan Stangl | | 647-801-0120