Industry Research


The Retail Council of Canada is pleased to provide retailers with helpful resources and current market data on key operational issues.

To browse Retail Business Practices, please select the appropriate category below:

Industry Research



Canada Post 2018 Holiday Success Guide
e-commerce operations

Prepare for the lucrative holiday selling season. Get ahead of developing trends with exclusive research. Find practical tips for managing peak season and improving customer satisfaction.
Download the guide




Canada Post e-book: Mastering your
e-commerce operations

Learn how to optimize every stage of your e-commerce operational workflow – and satisfy customers. A free e-book for Canada’s e-commerce merchants that’s full of insights and best practices from candid conversations with Canadian online entrepreneurs.
Download e-book




How to Build Loyalty in Online Shoppers



Loyal customers are the lifeblood of any successful e-commerce enterprise. Research shows shoppers who are loyal to a brand spend more money and make more frequent purchases than new buyers. Canada Post’s new report will help you decide where to focus your energy and investment when trying to meet the six elements of the e-commerce experience most likely to influence shopper loyalty.
Download the report now




Canada Post 2017 Holiday Survival Guide



Did you know that Canada Post saw e-commerce holiday volumes nearly double in 2016 since 2012? With such high stakes, the holiday season can be a “make or break” period for merchants. The Holiday Survival Guide is based on proprietary research and provides insights and important tips to help you maximize this key selling season.
Download the guide now




Is your shipping price right? How to design an effective shipping pricing strategy



64% of online shoppers have abandoned carts in the past due to high shipping costs. Market-leading research from Canada Post helps e-commerce merchants evaluate the effectiveness of their current shipping pricing strategy.
Read more and download the whitepaper




E-commerce returns: from costly complication to competitive advantage



Did you know that one-third of Canadian shoppers identify the ease of making a return as a critical factor in their decision to purchase? Read Canada Post’s latest free whitepaper and discover how providing shoppers an ideal returns experience can drive sales and keep those shoppers coming back for more.
Read more and download the whitepaper




Unlocking the Canadian online shopper opportunity



A remarkable 80% of Canadians shopped online in the past year. New, market-leading research from Canada Post reveals key trends in online shopper buying behaviour and offers actionable recommendations on how to capitalize on the ever-expanding e-commerce landscape.
Read more and download the whitepaper




First of its kind study of shopping centres in Canada.



Retail Council of Canada is launching a high-profile study examining the Canadian shopping centre industry using a variety of metrics including productivity per square foot, size and traffic counts.


New SAS Data Shows Canadians Prefer To Shop
In-Store During the Holidays.

In October, SAS conducted online survey research among 4,061 adult shoppers from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom to gain insight into their holiday shopping habits.

Download full report to learn more about 2016 shopper insights.




Retail Training and Employee Development
Benchmark Survey 2015

Retail Council of Canada (RCC), in partnership with WCG International Consultants Ltd., conducted a member survey to identify training and development benchmarks.

Over 50 retail-training professionals participated in this survey representing retailers of all sizes throughout Canada.

Click here to download the file.



80% of Canada's top retailers' local listings are inaccurate – 8 key tactics to establish an effective local digital presence

Consumers love using their smartphones to research brands and find nearby stores to make their purchase. Unfortunately, many Canadian retailers aren’t making it easy for those consumers to find those stores. That’s the message in Mediative latest’s whitepaper that scores top Canadian brands on their digital location marketing and offers advice and suggestions for improvement.

Click here to download the file.


Deloitte Disruption in RetailDisruption in Retail | From product to pixels by Deloitte and RCC

Deloitte and the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) recently undertook a study aimed at uncovering how technology is supporting and driving disruption within retail.

While previous studies by Deloitte and the RCC explored the evolution of the omni-channel and the use of social media in retail, the focus in 2015 has shifted to the overwhelming impact of technology on the retail environment.

Technology and retail are growing closer than ever, with the evolution of retail being driven by the consumer. Faster, better, cheaper has to be achieved at all costs, but how? Retailers are looking to technology for the answers.

Whether it is the vertical integration of the supply chain that is made possible by improved system interfaces or the seamless online, mobile and in-store shopping experience that consumers expect, the desired results cannot be achieved without technology.

Read more



Total RetailRetailing in an age of disruption

Retail today is more complex than ever before. The shopping journey has become a ‘choose your own adventure’ experience for consumers. One that might involve engaging with a retailer across multiple channels before making a purchase—a purchase that can be influenced, not just by advertising, but also by social media networks, third-party pricing apps and other innovative technologies. Read more


Retail RebootRetail reboot: How e-commerce is forcing an industry transformation

At first glance, the newest Future Shop looks much like any other. Flat-screen televisions, tablet computers and other electronics are on display for customers to see and try out. Read more


Food for thoughtEstimates of Cross-border Shopping, 2006 to 2012, Statistics Canada

Cross-border shopping by Canadians in the United States rose between 2006 and 2012, but even with those increases, purchases from the United States were between 1% and 2% of total Canadian retail sales. Read more


Food for thoughtPwC Up front: Food for thought

Under President and CEO Marc Poulin, Sobeys is confronting competition in the grocery business by giving Canadians healthier choices . Read more



Canadian Retail Insights Report

The Canadian Retail Insights Report, released by American Express, reveals that retailers across industries nationwide plan to place more of their focus on dropping prices this year to retain customers. In 2012, the Insights Report revealed that only 35 per cent of those surveyed would reduce prices to promote loyalty; this year 48 per cent say they will – a dramatic increase from the original study conducted two years ago.

Surveying decision makers in the Gas, Grocery, Pharmacy, Restaurant, Fast Food, Apparel and General Retail sectors, the Report focuses on what’s top of mind for Canadian merchants, including their industry and business outlook; challenges and pain points; growth strategy; customer loyalty and acquisition; competition; and strategies for attracting customers. Read more


Omni-channel: Rethink, reshape, revalue

Deloitte and the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) undertook a study aimed at understanding the operational complexities that retailers encounter during the transition to being an omni-channel operator. Historically, retailers have operated with a hub-and-spoke model, with retail locations being supported by operating functions at head offices. The shift in consumer purchasing habits, driven by the emergence of eCommerce and mobile technology, has in turn disrupted retailers’ traditional sales channels and back-office operations. Due to the iterative nature of technology development, this will continue to challenge retail operations in the future. Read more


4 Ways to Win for Independent Retailers

shopper frequency independent retailers connect with customers frequently, with a significant percentage of shoppers visiting weekly.

RCC and LoyaltyOne surveyed both Canadian consumers and independent retailers to identify the strengths that independent retailers have compared to their competition. This report examines consumer preferences and decision drivers and highlights ways that independent retailers can leverage their existing strengths by doubling down on personalization, carefully curating inventory, investing in social media, and leveraging location. Read more


RCC Path to Purchase Survey

What are consumers purchasing - and where, when, and why are they making those purchases?

Are there trends in the way consumers shop? Which touch points are the most effective for introducing your brand into a consumer's consideration set? What's the demand for digital information sources, both in-store and online? How can we capitalize on these key findings to create winning omni-channel strategies?

This new study, sponsored by MasterCard and conducted by the NPD Group on behalf of RCC was designed to help retailers identify opportunities to increase purchase conversion through the improvement of their digital marketing strategies and tactics and by realizing and acting on synergies between their digital and in-store efforts.

 RCC Path to Purchase Survey


KPMG Executive Roundtable
INNOVATION, AGILITY AND THE IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY ON RETAIL IN CANADA. This year we spoke with six senior leaders in Canadian retail who shared their insights about key issues facing their industry in today’s complex, and rapidly changing retail environment.

Total Retail : Canadian customer expectations driving the next retail business model
Today's consumers don't get excited about multichannel retail: They expect it. Convenient physical locations, websites that enable them to find and purchase products, a mobile site or app - these are now the price of entry for retailers.

The Structure of Retail in Canada
A look at the current structure and performance of the retail sector in Canada with a focus on longer-term trends. Using Statistics Canada data, these detailed tables highlight retail prices and volume, operating expenses, retail hourly wages, opening and closing inventory and more.

KPMG and RCC: 50th Anniversary Report of the Canadian Retail Landscape
Approximately one out of every eight workers in Canada is employed in retail, accounting for about 6 percent of Canada’s economy. In the US, retail employs about twice that proportion and accounts for 18 percent of American GDP.1 This lesser market saturation of the retail market, relative to that of the US, is one of the driving factors luring US-based retailers to Canada.

2013 Deloitte/RCC Retail Study
Deloitte and Retail Council of Canada undertook the second annual retail study for the BC market. This is a study aimed at understanding how operational decision-making is influenced within the retail industry given the changing landscape of the shopping environment.

KPMG Consumer Currents #15: Fashion Statement
This issue of ConsumerCurrents explores the growth of China’s luxury-goods market, the tremendous scope for growth globally, particularly in emerging markets, the value of strategic joint ventures, the growing purchasing power of the senior consumer, and the evolution of shopping malls.

Global Cross Channel Retailing Report: THE (UN)CONNECTED STORE
June 2012

Cross channel retailing is not a new concept. In the past five to seven years we have observed world class retailers fully embrace their cross channel journey. However, cross channel strategies are poorly understood from senior executives to front line store associates. This study benchmarks cross channel capabilities among leading retailers across 17 countries as a means to assist retailers as they determine their cross channel future.

2012 retail study: The rise of the connected consumer
July 2012

There has been a significant focus on social media, eCommerce, and mobile technology in the media, conferences, and thoughtware, speculating on what the world of retail will look like in three months, six months or one year from now. Technology revolutions in eCommerce and mobile applications enable retailers to reach consumers and markets that they would never touch in a brick-and-mortar world. Social media enables retailers to build a brand and put a face to their organizations that is not dependent on face-to-face interaction in retail locations.

The Impact of Display Advertising At-Retail on Influencing Customer Buying Behaviour
June 2012

Advertising at-retail has the potential to drive significant business to a particular brand or product, as well as having a positive influence on offline consumer purchase behaviour. (Walmart Case Study)

Mediative eBook: From the Creation to the Evolution of Location Based Marketing

  • Location Based Marketing is about more than just search – it’s about discovery.
  • In Canada, the search platform that a consumer chooses is highly correlated to where they live.
  • Advertisers who reward their local search customers for finding them get rewarded in return.
  • Over 90% of online Canadians are reached by sites with ads by Yellow Media advertisers.

Retail Sales Outlook Canada Q2 2012 (Kubas Primedia)
May 2012

  • Q1 2012 Shows mostly improving trends
  • Outlook for Rest of 2012
  • Regional Outlook
  • Canadian Retail Sales by Type of Store


Sales Statistics

Retail sales by province and territory – Seasonally adjusted
June/July 2012

Retail sales rose 0.7% to $39.0 billion in July, more than offsetting the decline in June. Gains were reported in 8 of 11 subsectors, representing 72% of total retail trade. The increase was led by higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers, and general merchandise stores.

Retail sales rise in May
May 2012

Retail sales rose 0.3% to $38.9 billion in May. Gains were reported in 6 of 11 subsectors, representing 53% of retail trade. Overall, retail sales have been relatively flat since November 2011.

Stats Canada Sales Statistics
April 2012

Retail sales declined 0.5% to $38.9 billion in April, more than offsetting the gain in March. Lower sales were reported in 8 of 11 subsectors, representing 78% of retail sales. In volume terms, retail sales decreased 0.8%, the third decline in four months.


Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada

Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada
(Department of Finance Canada)

May 2010

The purpose of the Code is to demonstrate the industry's commitment to:

  1. Ensuring that merchants are fully aware of the costs associated with accepting credit and debit card payments thereby allowing merchants to reasonably forecast their monthly costs related to accepting such payments.
  2. Providing merchants with increased pricing flexibility to encourage consumers to choose the lowest-cost payment option.
  3. Allowing merchants to freely choose which payment options they will accept.


The Way We Pay: Transforming the Canadian Payments System

The Way We Pay: Transforming the Canadian Payments System
(Task Force for the Payments System Review)

July 2011

This discussion paper describes the evolution of the Task Force's thinking, and elaborates on the goal of becoming a world leader in payments by articulating the principles we feel must be respected. It sets out the fundamental challenges as we see them, and carves out the elements of a proposed Governance Framework we will continue to refine.

2011 KPMG Mobile Payments Outlook
July 2011

In a global online survey of nearly 1,000 executives in the financial services, technology, telecommunications and retail industries, this report explores opportunities and barriers to the adoption of mobile payments, and provides insight into the forces shaping the mobile payments market – both today and in the future.


The Opportunity at Home Meal Replacement
Consumer demand for convenience is growing. That’s why the home meal replacement (HMR) category has been one of the highest-performing segments of the Canadian foodservice industry in the last five years.

Innovation in Agriculture: The Key to Feeding a Growing Population
June 2014

The Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry undertook a study on research and innovation efforts in the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector. The report focuses on:

- How the sector is constantly changing and how those involved must be ready to adapt.
- The importance of innovation and its necessity in achieving desired goals
- The need to continue to be innovative and open to new ideas.

The Specialty Food Market in North America
Government of Canada

March 2012

The definition of specialty food can vary considerably, and as a result, it can be difficult to measure the size of the industry. Mintel defines “specialty food” as “anything that is above average in quality or price”, while in a specialty food industry study, the Value Chain Management Centre (VCMC) defines the industry within four categories: ethnic foods, foods that are produced in compliance with religious dietary laws, specialty diets, and gourmet and artisan products. On the other hand, managers within retail and foodservice use different characteristics, such as products that are sold in lower quantities than mainstream products, and often garner higher prices, and are specifically branded (Gooch et al. 8).

Canadian Food Industry Recommendations on the Management of Unsaleables
National User's Guide and Toolbox

Sponsored by RCC and FCPC

March 2011

At the most fundamental level this document aims to bring clarity to the complex and controversial issue of unsaleables management and to provide you with a starting point from which you can improve your company’s ongoing management of this issue.
En français


Health & Safety

Setting up a Health & Safety System in Your Small Business
May 2011

Today, Health and Safety is recognized as playing a far more significant role in the workplace as a driver of productivity and increased employee engagement. Yet, there remains much that can be done in order to ensure an even safer environment for retail employees. Retail Council of Canada (RCC) with Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) are pleased to partner in the development of this practical guide to assist you in your efforts to ensure a safe and healthy work environment. This guide will also help retailers better understand their obligations while providing useful tools to enhance their safety programs.

For more Health & Safety Resources, visit our Health & Safety page


Human Resources


Retail Training and Employee Development
Benchmark Survey 2015

Retail Council of Canada (RCC), in partnership with WCG International Consultants Ltd., conducted a member survey to identify training and development benchmarks.

Over 50 retail-training professionals participated in this survey representing retailers of all sizes throughout Canada.

Click here to download the file.


Pressing Ahead: Canada's Tranforming Apparel Industry 2011 Labour Market Information Study
March 2011



Loss Prevention

RCC Security Self Assessment

Retail Council of Canada is proud to collaborate with RBC in presenting these best practices, developed with the independent retailer in mind. Retailers have told us about the loss prevention issues that matter most to them, and it is our hope that the following pages will better prepare those retailers and help prevent future incidents involving their people and their property.


Check to Protect


Most counterfeits enter circulation at a retail point of sale. As cash handlers, that puts you on the front lines in the fight against counterfeiting. The new polymer notes have leading-edge security features that are both easy to check and hard to counterfeit.
Please remember—security features are helpful only if you use them. So know your notes, routinely check them, and be ready to halt a counterfeit in its tracks to protect yourself and your customers from this crime.
En français



Report on Business and the Environment 2012:
Re-envisioning Retail

March 2012

This Report on Business & the Environment: Retail 2012 is the fourth in a series aimed at helping leaders of Canadian organizations in different sectors better understand the risks and opportunities presented by the environmental sustainability challenge.

Available en Français.

Systematic Review: Socially Conscious Consumerism

Network for Business Sustainability

This systematic review synthesize the entire body of research on socially conscious consumerism. The authors reviewed thousands of studies from both academia and practice.

Alberta Plastic Bag Distribution Reduction Strategy - Annual Report for 2012-2013

MOU For A Voluntary Strategy to Reduce Plastic Bag Distributions in Alberta



Technology Purchases in Canada
How do they vary by region? Click to view infographic.

Home Appliance Purchases in Canada
How do they vary by region? Click to view infographic.

Demystifying the online shopper
10 myths of multi-channel retailing

A Canadian perspective on the 2013 Global Multi-channel Retail Survey.

The New Multi-screen World
Google, Sterling Brands & Ipsos

Summer 2012

A recent report from Google outlines how users have become ‘multiscreeners,’ looking to multiple devices to accomplish certain tasks, including how consumers make purchasing decisions.67% of people were ‘sequentially screening’ between devices such as a phone and laptop when they were shopping online.

  • Tablets are most often a starting point for shopping and trip planning. This is often continued on a PC.
  • Consumers shop differently across devices, so businesses should tailor the experience to each channel. It’s also important to optimize the shopping experience across all devices.



Denim Sales on the Decline
Does Canada still appreciate the classic Canadian tuxedo?

Can You Still Ignore Ecommerce?
See what’s happening with Canadians' online shopping behaviour and what it means for your Ecommerce strategies.

Footwear: Man’s New Best Friend?
See top-selling shoes, online activity, average prices, and more in our infographic!

Winning In Today’s Retail Environment
Developing a More Compelling Sales Argument