Merchandising Must Read: The changing face of Canada

Census Data is available to us all.  These statistics are a must read if you are directly responsible for censusthe retail assortment mix (or an influencer).  Census data is like a retail compass, shedding light on consumer demographic trends and the changing landscape.  Read below for some staggering statistics that will influence your purchase decision.

Yet how many Merchants/ Category Managers utilize this FREE public data to their advantage?  How can Census Data help a Merchant?

Merchants are responsible for sales and the gross profit via their assortment mix they list and planogram.  Some argue, if one does not understand future trends in the market, one can not effectively select what products consumers will want.  Studying Census data will give many clues if studied.  See below some statistics and how they could shape your assortment mix.

2011 Canadian Stats affecting Retail Assortment/Services

– The rate of Canada’s population growth between 2006 and 2011, was the highest among the G8age

– Married couples are in long-term decline

– Aging demographics: people>80 on the steady rise…

– The size of families has shrunk (in 1961 avg fam size was 3.9 people, now it is 2.9 – post baby boom)

– For the first time, Stats Canada found there are more people living alone in Canada then there are couples with Children (one-household persons make up 27.6% of all homes.  Couples with children represent only 26.5%!)

– In 2011, the most typical family was a couple with no children!  In fact 44.5%

– Empty nesters are not so empty!  The 2011 census shows some 42.3% of young adults aged 20-29 are living at home.  In 1981 it was 26.9%

Cut and paste: or Google 2011 Canada Census.


Tips/Advantages to Understanding Census Data

1. Work with your vendor community so they submit an assortment mirroring your target market’s trends

2. Add value to your organization and stand out of the crowd

3. Your assortment mix will be differentiated from the competition and mirror the consumer ‘wants/needs”


To learn more: read about Merchandising Course offered at University of Toronto.  Next Semester Sept-Dec 2013


5 products to wisely spend on

Saving is vitally important, but not at the expense of health, wellness or safety.  Is your health and well-being not worth a cold million?youtube-making-money-streaming-video

Economy does not lie in sparing money, but in spending it wisely.

Thomas Huxley

Below are 5 fundamental products/services that one should not be frugal on.  Research, and spend wisely on below while balancing on “social expenditures” i.e. booze, restaurants, or ‘want vs need’ shopping, for example.

1. Car Tires – Did you know that car tires have a shelf life of 4 years?  I’m not sure why people would do little research or not spend on something that is the interface between the car and the road.  A car is a 2+ ton vehicle moving at speeds in excess of 100km/hr (60 mi/hr).  Be safe and get good tires for your family.

2. Fresh Food – We are what we eat.  Ever put crappy gas in the car?  Food is our fuel.  Invest in learning how to cook fresh food and try to avoid processed foods (we are all too busy to read the long list of in-pronounceable ingredients in processed foods!).  I’m not saying buy Organic all the time but buy Fresh and make fresh sauces (avoid canned stuff with shelf life of 6 month-1 year, full of preservatives).  I’ve spent 10 years in the food industry and seen some nasty preservatives devised in laboratories but found in our grocery shelf.

3. Gym/Wellness – Investing in you is the best investment.   Stress is a killer –  yoga, walking, gym, etc are great ways to stay fit.  If you can’t look after yourself, you can’t look after someone else.  There’s no argument from the pundits on this one.

4. Mattress – We spend 33% of our lives or 8 hours/day on a bed.  A good night sleep is vital to health and mental acumen.  You can get good quality mattresses for $800-1000.  Don’t go cheap here…I’ve bought mattresses for a major retailer and understand the value – pocket coils are great and so are some foam types.

5. Shoes – Again, we spend hours on end on our feet.  Shoes are the interface between your lovely toes and the earth.  Invest in good shoes and your happy feet will love you.  I’m not saying develop a shoe fetish… but instead of having 20 pairs of shoes, think sensibly and get quality.

Don’t spend beyond your means, but do mean to spend wisely on core products to keep you safe and healthy.

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