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Canadians Look Forward to Target, If Price is Right

As Target ramps up for its Canadian debut next spring, a new Vision Critical Retail survey reveals that Canadian shoppers are waiting in anticipation for the U.S. retailer to provide the great value for money and wide selection of products that it is well known for south of the border.

Of the vast majority of Canadian shoppers (83%) who are aware of Target, the second-largest discount retailer in the US, over half (52 %) are excited by the Canadian store launch, and four-in-five (81%) express interest in visiting the new Canadian locations when they open.

Target’s tagline—“Expect More. Pay Less.”—is fueling excitement for favourable pricing (70%) as well as sales and promotions (42%) in Canada. However, there is some concern that the store’s pricing (71%) and promotions (47%) won’t be as good as those offered in the U.S.

“While two-thirds (65%) of Canadians believe the shopping experience at Target Canada will be comparable to the U.S., it’s paramount that Target be prepared to explain any potential major differences in pricing and promotions to Canadian shoppers to proactively avoid disappointment,” said Dara St. Louis, Senior Vice President, Consumer, Retail & Shopper Insights, at Vision Critical. “Target will want to avoid the pricing challenges faced by J. Crew’s initial launch in Canada, among others.”

“With the explosion of U.S. retailers in Canada over the last few years, Canadians are becoming increasingly frustrated with the higher price tags featured by some U.S. retailers in their Canadian stores, “added St. Louis. “Regular tracking and monitoring of Target’s brand performance in Canada, particularly in the first year of its launch, will be important for understanding how the store holds up in the Canadian retail landscape.”   

Among its various product offerings, Target’s apparel selection (33%) is drawing the most interest and excitement among Canadian shoppers, presumably related to excitement and frenzy around Target’s occasional and exclusive collaborations with well-known clothing designers. The store’s home furnishings and décor selection is also an interesting category for one-in-five shoppers (22%).   

Despite the recent protest against Target’s decision to lay off Zellers workers from potential Target Canada locations across the country, most Canadians aren’t bothered by Target taking over leases at select Zellers locations—less than a third (29%) feel it would have a negative impact in general.


The data featured in this release was conducted by the integrated Consumer, Retail and Shopper Insights Team of Vision Critical. Results are based on a national online study conducted among 1,007 Canadian adults aged 18 or over across Canada on Jul. 25, 2012. The margin of error, which measures sampling variability, is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada.

Contact Information

Dara St. Louis

Senior Vice President, Consumer, Retail & Shopper Insights