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British Columbians are excited about Target’s imminent arrival and most plan to shop there (82%) when the store lands in BC. But look out Walmart: 28% of British Columbians tell us they will shop less with you when that happens.

Vancouver, BC – A recent Insights West online poll surveyed 867 BC adults regarding their opinions about the US retailer Target’s planned entry into Canada. This poll was conducted shortly after the first Canadian stores opened in the Toronto area. While British Columbians will have to wait till later in 2013 to experience Target in BC, we have nearly all heard the news about Target’s Canadian debut (96% aware) and it seems that consumers are for the most part pretty excited about Target coming to Canada.

When asked their overall reaction, over half (55%) are positive, with 18% choosing “awesome, I can’t wait” and 37% choosing “pretty good, it’s another retailer to add to the mix.” Of the remainder, just 14% disapprove (“upset – I wish US retailers would stay south of the border”), whereas one-in-three (31%) are indifferent (“eh, doesn’t matter to me”). Further, nearly all (82%) British Columbians are likely to visit a Target store if one is conveniently located for them (39% very likely; 43% somewhat likely).

Gender stereotypes about shopping appear to be largely dispelled here, as males and females have fairly equivalent views of Target’s entry in terms of their excitement level and even their likelihood to shop (females 82% males 82%). Still, females express a little more certainty when it comes to their shopping intentions (43% of females very likely to shop at Target versus 36% of males).

This enthusiasm for Target is based on past experiences with the retailer for many British Columbians – 69% have visited a Target store at some point in the past (35% within the past year) and 62% consider themselves familiar with the retailer (27% very familiar). This level of direct experience with Target outstrips that of the other US retailers that either have not yet, or have only recently, entered Canada that we included in the poll. Just 19% have visited a JC Penney in the past year (61% ever) and 49% are familiar; 16% have visited a Nordstrom in the past year (48% ever) and 35% familiar; 11% have shopped at Nordstrom Rack in the past year (32% ever) and 21% are familiar; and 10% have shopped at Marshalls in the past year (30% ever) and 21% are familiar.

“In all, our results suggest that Target is well positioned with British Columbians even before market entry,” comments Catherine Dawson, Senior Vice President at Insights West.

So among all the offerings that Target will bring to its Canadian neighbours, which are we most likely to indulge in purchasing? Fashion for self and home are tops among the 10 different items tested. Among those who buy each item, 84% are likely to buy each from Target Canada.










Once Target comes to the province, it appears that another US-based retailer – Walmart – is the store most likely to be hurt by its entry. While 32% of British Columbians claim they won’t shop anywhere less often once Target opens in Canada, 28% indicate they will cut back on their visits to Walmart. Other multi-category/department retailers The Bay (16% will shop less there), Winners (14%), London Drugs (14%) and Best Buy (14%) are next on the hit list.

It may be that British Columbians are welcoming the pricing challenge that Target could present Walmart with. Eight-in-ten (82%) agree (33% strongly agree) that “US retailers coming into Canada will force the other chains like Walmart and Costco to be as competitive as possible”. Perhaps we relish the idea of two US retailers battling for our loonies. BCers are, however, pretty skeptical about how good the prices will be in Canada: 87% agree that “US retailers may come to Canada, but they won’t offer prices as low as they do in the US”.

British Columbians do recognize, however, that Target’s entry will present some challenges to smaller Canadian retailers. While 62% agree that US retailers are good for the Canadian economy and provide more jobs for Canadians, an equal number (61%) also agree “US retailers coming into Canada are going to hurt our home grown Canadian businesses”. British Columbians are split as to whether they think Canadian retailers’ lack of competitiveness is at fault (48% agree and 46% disagree “if Canadian retailers were doing as good a job as they should, there wouldn’t be the opportunity for US retailers to open stores in Canada”).

“As we often see with Canadian consumers, we get a sense here that British Columbians are torn about what will happen when Target comes to Canada,” says Dawson. “While they will certainly shop these big US retailers and hope for a positive impact on our economy, they worry about it hurting Canadian businesses,” she continues.

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 867 residents of BC aged 18+ who are Your Insights panel members. 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 BC 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 +/- 3.3 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty. To view the detailed data tabulations, click here.

For further information, please contact:

Catherine Dawson
Senior Vice President, Insights West