Survey Reveals that Half of Canadians Always Check Grocery Flyers Before Shopping

Global market research firm Synovate released a new study showing that 47% of Canadian households always check grocery flyers before shopping. A further 24% said that they review grocery flyers quite often, indicating that each week approximately 7-in-10 Canadian homes check grocery flyers either quite often or always.

Checking grocery flyers before shopping is most prevalent in the Atlantic region (where 56% of households always do so) and lowest in Alberta (33%). Interestingly 75% of households nationally with children aged 18 and under sometimes or always check grocery flyers each week, compared with 70% of homes without kids – indicating that the effect of the recent recession has made the majority of Canadians highly budget conscious when it comes to grocery shopping, regardless of whether they have children at home or not.

Flyers are one of the most visible and widespread marketing tools used by grocery stores to connect with and lure customers, but how effective are flyers at engaging consumers? Are most merely flipping quickly through the flyer or are they actually reading it in detail?

According to Synovate’s Grocery Tracker, an ongoing quarterly syndicated survey, the average time spent checking a grocery flyer each week nationally is just over 20 minutes. Households in Atlantic Canada spend the most time reviewing a grocery flyer (just over 21 minutes); while those in Ontario and BC invest the least amount of time reading flyers (a little under 18 minutes per week). A core group of grocery shoppers are highly committed to spending time perusing flyers, with nearly 1-in-3 grocery shoppers nationally stating that they spend 30 minutes or more checking flyers every week.

When asked if something that they saw in a flyer prompted them to shop at the store, the response varies somewhat by retailer, but is high across the country. So 91% of Maxi shoppers in Quebec say they visit the store as a result of its flyer. As do 84% of No Frills shoppers, 64% of Longo’s shoppers in Ontario, as well as 70% of Save-On shoppers and Safeway shoppers in BC. All of which suggests that the most price conscious grocery shoppers are motivated to use flyers to compare prices across different chains and will visit those stores in their area which offer the most attractive prices.    

“Today’s grocery sector is extremely competitive and the battle to attract shoppers is intense. The majority of Canadian consumers are very price conscious when it comes to grocery shopping. Flyers are one of the most established and simplest ways to reach out to and communicate with grocery shoppers. It’s clear that checking flyers every week is the norm for many grocery shoppers, who are using them as a time saving means to comparison shop different retailers from the comfort of their home” said Adrian Murphy, Vice President of Syndicated Research North America for Synovate.


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