Q1 Insights Recap: The New Necessities for Canadian Customers
By the end of 2021, Canadians were ready to put the pandemic in the past and reward themselves for two years of restraint and resilience. But, it’s never that easy. New challenges have created international economic turbulence, and in February inflation reached levels not seen since the early 90s. Customers have had to manage their expectations and their budgets.

Yet, that hasn’t stopped them from finding ways to live their best lives. Even though Canadians are focusing their spending on essentials* and looking for low prices, what they consider essentials today can include everything from travel preparation to organic foods to seasonal apparel from their favourite brands. This presents a valuable opportunity for brands to align their messaging to the factors consumers are considering before purchasing a variety of products.
Trends & Opportunities
Non-essential spending may be down, but it’s not out... not as long as brands can clearly convey the value their products can bring to their customers’ lives, and continue to engage their most loyal, enthusiastic, and frequent shoppers**.
Products that may have once been considered luxuries have made their way to the top of customers’ shopping lists, showing brands that the line between what consumers consider to be essential and non-essential isn’t as sharply defined as it once was—and that customers are ready to travel, relax, and take care of their health and happiness.
While customers may be broadening their definition of what’s essential, they’re still trying to weather the storm of inflation. That means brands are seeing stiff competition from private-label products that offer lower prices, and they need to work extra hard to maintain the loyalty of their longtime fans.

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Source: Walmart 1P Data
*Essentials = Core Grocery, Produce, Dairy, Snacks and Beverages, HBA (Health Beauty), Pharmacy-OTC, Meat, Chemicals, Pet Supplies, Infant Consumables, Housewares, Frozen Food, Paper Goods, Commercial Bread, Processed Meats, Bakery, Infants, Seafood, Deli/MHR,
**Frequent Shopper is defined as a customer who had at least 12 orders in 2021 (Jan. 1 - Dec. 31)
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