Your Insights: Albertans Anticipate Target’s Entry Into Canada

Albertans anxiously await the opening of Target, with most (87%) planning to shop there when the US retailer arrives in Alberta. It looks like Walmart will take the biggest hit when that happens – 34% of Albertans tell us they will shop at Walmart less often.

Calgary, AB – A recent Insights West online poll surveyed 620 Alberta adults gauging their opinions about the US retailer Target’s entry into Canada. This poll was conducted around the same time as the first Canadian stores opened in Toronto. It is rumoured the first Target stores will open their doors in Alberta in mid-May. Nearly all Albertan adults have heard the news about Target’s Canadian debut (95% aware) and are excited about the upcoming store openings.

Attitudes towards the US retailer are generally positive – more than three-in-five (62%) are happy the retailer is coming to Canada, with 18% choosing “awesome, I can’t wait” and 44% choosing “pretty good, it’s another retailer to add to the mix.” Just 9% are unhappy Target is opening its doors here (“upset – I wish US retailers would stay south of the border”), whereas one-in-three (29%) are indifferent (“eh, doesn’t matter to me”).

Close to nine-in-ten (87%) Albertans are likely to visit a Target store if one is conveniently located for them (45% very likely; 42% somewhat likely). Younger Albertans aged 18-34 and 35-54 are more likely to visit a Target store (92% and 88%, respectively) compared to their older counterparts (82% among those aged 55+). Interestingly, men and women are similarly enthused by Target’s entry into Canada, with both being equally likely to shop at the new Target stores (85% and 88%, respectively).

Part of Albertans’ excitement about Target’s upcoming arrival is based on their past experience with the US retailer. Close to half (49%) of Albertans have ever been to a Target store (17% in the past year) and 43% are familiar with the US retailer (12% very familiar).

And what are Albertans most likely to purchase from the new US retailer? Among the list of 10 items we tested, items for the home (87%), home care, paper and cleaning supplies (85%) and clothing, shoes or accessories (84%) came out on top.

Results suggest that once Target comes to Alberta, another US-based retailer – Walmart – is the most likely to be negatively impacted by its entry. One-third (34%) indicate they will shop at Walmart less often. Next on the list are The Bay (17% will shop there less often), Winners (15%), London Drugs (14%) and Shoppers Drug Mart (13%). However, one quarter (26%) of Albertans claim they won’t shop anywhere less often once Target opens in Canada.

Albertans may be looking forward to welcoming the potential pricing challenge that Target could present Walmart with. More than eight-in-ten (85%) agree (30% strongly agree) that “US retailers coming into Canada will force the other chains like Walmart and Costco to be as competitive as possible”. However, Albertans are skeptical that prices in Canada will reflect the same deals as in the US with 91% agreeing that “US retailers may come to Canada, but they won’t offer prices as low as they do in the US”.

Albertans also recognize the negative impacts Target’s entry could have on some smaller Canadian retailers. While 69% agree that US retailers are good for the Canadian economy and provide more jobs for Canadians, 61% also agree “US retailers coming into Canada are going to hurt our home grown Canadian businesses”.

“Overall, our survey results show great promise for Target stores in Alberta,” comments Jane Ha-Trapp, Vice President at Insights West. “However, Albertans are also torn about Target’s arrival in the province. While they will certainly shop at Target stores and hope the move positively impacts our economy, they worry about the potential harm to smaller Canadian businesses.”

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary and has eight full-time and five part-time employees.

Results are based on an online study conducted from March 26 – 31, 2013, among 620 residents of AB aged 18+ who are Your Insights panel members. YourInsights.ca is Insights West’s in-house access panel offering on-demand samples for both clients and research suppliers looking for Western Canadian populations. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for AB for age and gender. While statistical margins of error are arguably not applicable to online panels/online studies of this nature, we have assumed that the same margins of error apply as if it were a true unweighted random probability sample with a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty. To view the detailed data tabulations, click here.

For further information, please contact:

Jane Ha-Trapp
Vice President, Insights West
403-860-5277
janehatrapp@insightswest.com