The Brands Canadians Love: Men Versus Women

The Brands Canadians Love: Men Versus Women

Competition for consumers is growing with thousands of new products hitting the shelves every year to try and win shopping dollars. With more choice than ever before and integrated shopping experiences gaining favor with consumers (i.e., ordering online and picking up in-store), manufacturers and retailers can benefit from knowing who is buying and how they are spending their allotted budgets.

The differences between male and female shoppers are notable and are a great place to begin to understand consumer buying behaviour. For starters, it’s not just women that are making purchasing decisions. Men are taking an increased role in the shopping responsibilities. According to a Nielsen Panel View survey in Canada, women are the primary shoppers 60% of the time. But men are the primary shoppers in 24% of households, and let’s not forget the other 16% of households where men and women share the primary shopping responsibilities.

These male shoppers should not be ignored—did you know that men shop more than their female counterparts? When looking at trip behaviour in Canada, it is evident that male shoppers make more trips on a yearly basis. However, they also spend less than women. Canadian men, on average, make 161 trips per year with an average basket size of $32.41, while their female counterparts make 152 trips and spend on average $37.72. In addition, these male shoppers are less interested in browsing (50% of men vs. 60% of women), so ensuring they can find what they’re looking for is essential for stores looking to reach these shoppers.

Nevertheless, men can be more profitable shoppers for the manufacturers and retailers that meet their needs. Only 13% of male shoppers in Canada use coupons while shopping, compared with 67% of women. On top of that, men are unlikely to prepare a shopping list compared to their female counterparts (12% vs. 78%, respectively).

But it’s not only the way men and women shop that creates a gender gap in stores, the brands they trust differ as well. A recently conducted Equitrend study, released by Nielsen, showcased the top 10 most-trusted CPG brands among women and men in Canada. The brands that have earned consumers’ trust are well-established brands, with a long history of consistently delivering on their brand promise.  

Brand competition is intense and shelves are crowded. With thousands of new products being added each year, increased competition from private label, and shopping fragmentation due to the rise of e-commerce and the share economy, building brand trust is a critical task for marketers to break through the clutter. Retailers and manufacturers who understand the idiosyncrasies of gender based shopping will benefit in the consumer marketplace from knowing their shoppers preferences and habits.


EquiTrend is based on a total sample of 19,944 Canadian consumers ages 18 and over surveyed online between Dec. 23, 2015, and Jan. 20, 2016. Respondents had the choice to complete the survey in English or French language. The survey took an average of 30 minutes to complete. The total number of brands rated was 777. Each respondent was asked to rate a total of 40 randomly selected brands. Each brand received approximately 1,000 ratings. Respondents were asked their familiarity with brands and rated the brands they were somewhat, very, or extremely familiar with. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll® surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. Data were weighted to be representative of the entire Canadian population of consumers ages 18 and over based on age, gender, education, language, region, race and their propensity to be online.