1/3 of Americans Would Never Knowingly Purchase From Canadian Retailers [Study]


One of the biggest questions we’ve been curious about when it comes to Canadian retailers is whether or not their location in Canada is off-putting for potential American customers. Does the fact that a website promotes itself as “Canadian” or has a .ca domain extension rather than a .com extension really have an impact on who will make a purchase? But a bigger question would be that if the website were trustworthy & reputed enough, like the ones ecommerce business has to offer, then would the impact incur a difference in the sales?

In order to answer these questions, Search Engine People made use of Google’s online Consumer Surveys platform. We commissioned a short study that we hoped would give us a better idea of how U.S. residents really feel about buying from a Canadian retailer.

The question SEP asked was, “At what point would you consider purchasing a $50 item (that you really want) from a Canadian retailer rather than a US retailer?”

Respondents were asked to choose one of the following five options:

  • Same Price
  • $45 (10% less)
  • $37.50 (25% less)
  • $25 (50% less)
  • I would never!

What Did We Learn?

After collecting responses from more than 1,500 U.S. residents between the ages of 18 and 65, we came up with some interesting findings about their attitudes towards purchasing from Canadian retailers:

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  • 1/3 of Americans would never consider buying an item from a Canadian retailer, even if it were the same price.
  • Among respondents in the US Midwest, women chose the response, “I would never!” more often than men.

View more results from our study here.

What Does This Mean for You?

These findings indicate that being an obviously Canadian retailer does indeed have an impact on whether or not a US customer will purchase from you. The results of this survey provide crucial insight into the buying motives and attitudes of American shoppers, and can help guide you in your SEO and digital marketing efforts.

If you operate a Canadian-based site, it may be wise to avoid promoting yourself as a proudly Canadian retailer, especially if you are targeting U.S. customers. If your website currently features a .ca domain extension, you may also want to consider your options for switching to a .com extension or operating both a .ca and .com website to target both Canadian and American shoppers.

SEP will continue to dive deeper into the impact of having a .ca domain extension while targeting U.S. customers, so stay tuned for more interesting insights!

Future Areas of Research

SEP continues to study how U.S. customers perceive Canadian-based websites, in particular those with .ca domain extensions. Our goal is to better advise our Canadian clients on how to structure their online presence, and whether or not they should promote themselves as a Canadian company if they are looking to increase business south of the border.

As a result of this study, we’ve identified some potential areas for future research and questions we’d like to answer:

  • Are US women more loyal to American brands than men?
  • At what price point would a US customer consider purchasing from a Canadian retailer?
  • Does the current exchange rate impact whether or not a US customer will buy Canadian?
  • What categories of items are Americans most likely to buy from Canada?
  • What are the specific reasons why a U.S. shopper would never buy Canadian?

Will these findings impact how you operate your Canadian website? Have another question you’d like SEP to look into? Let us know in the comments!

* Lead image adapted from Jamie McCaffrey

Posted in SEO

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