Study: Americans' Willingness to Buy Canadian

Why Did We Conduct This Study?

Search Engine People performed this study in order to help determine U.S. residents attitude towards purchasing from Canadian online retailers. Our goal was to learn whether or not a Canadian-based website (with a .ca domain extension) would have an impact on the shopping habits of potential American customers.

We hope the findings would contribute to our ongoing investigation into whether Canadian ecommerce sites should focus on .com or .ca domains in their online marketing efforts.

How Did We Perform the Study?

SEP used Googles online Consumer Surveys platform to ask 1,503 U.S. residents between the ages of 18-65 the question, 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 select one of the following five options:

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

All survey responses were collected over a 3-day period in September 2015.

Respondent Details:

The answers were displayed in a randomly reversed order.

Sampling bias:

Comparing this question's sample distribution to the Internet Population data for the US.

Group Response Non-response Internet Population Bias
Male 57.1% 44.2% 48.0% 9.1%
Female 42.9% 55.8% 52.0% -9.1%
18-24 14.4% 15.3% 14.1% 0.3%
25-34 22.8% 18.7% 19.4% 3.4%
35-44 20.0% 17.3% 18.7% 1.3%
45-54 17.1% 17.5% 19.4% -2.3%
55-64 14.8% 18.2% 16.0% -1.3%
65+ 11.0% 13.0% 12.3% -1.4%
Midwest 29.3% 24.4% 22.0% 7.3%
Northeast 19.1% 17.8% 18.9% 0.2%
South 29.2% 34.9% 35.3% -6.2%
West 22.4% 23.0% 23.8% -1.3%
RMSE score 2.3%


What Did We Find Out?

The results of this survey produced some interesting findings in relation to US shoppers attitudes towards buying from Canadian online retailers.

So What?

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. Despite two items being identical in price, 33% of Americans still would never consider buying that item from a site based in Canada. Additionally, trends in the US Midwest indicate that female shoppers may feel more of a loyalty towards US retailers than men.

SEP continues to study how Canadian-based sites are perceived in the eyes of US shoppers, and how this affects Canadian businesses looking to expand their business south of the border. These results may impact how we recommend that clients structure their website and even whether or not they promote themselves as a Canadian company on their site or in their social media, pay per click campaigns and more.