Almost 50% are ordering food online in Canada


Published March 19, 2024 at 4:29 pm

Hermit consumers in Canada

If you prefer ordering in to going out, numbers suggest you’re not alone.

Canadian spending habits have been irregular since the end of the lockdown era. As a result of these lingering qualities, a new form of the consumer has secured its place within the Canadian economy, one that preferably likes to stay in. 

The ‘hermit consumer’ is the most common nickname for these shoppers, as they seldom spend money outside the limits of their front doors. Due to a large number of Canadian dollars no longer being spent publicly, public-facing businesses, like restaurants, retailers and hotels, are being forced to tackle hermit consumers head-on.

“We’ve been on the path for the last decade of people turning to digital operations and ordering in the retail space. This has led to a potential decrease in foot traffic in retail stores, and similarly, we are now seeing this in restaurants and quick service, with the advent of mobile ordering,” Brittain Brown told 

Brown is the President of Givex, a multinational corporation that monitors the usage of consumer trends, with a client roster containing heavy-hitters like 7-Eleven, A&W and Marriott Hotels. As a result of hermit consumerism becoming commonplace in Ontario, Canada and abroad, Brown and his team have been working with clients to help them stay in lockstep with modern trends. 

“Fast-tracking is the word I would use. Anyone who wasn’t doing it already, we made sure they were able to quickly adapt to this model… Over two years, it went from some people having delivery and mobile options to everyone having full online applications,” says Brown. 

Even as the hermit consumer bandwagon gets more businesses many industries still face an uphill battle, as a report from 2023, drafted on behalf of Dalhousie University, indicates that over 88 per cent of Canadians are choosing to dine out less than the previous year. Additional information provided by Givex indicates that on a global scale, take-out ordering has increased by 46 per cent.

“I think that’s how we are seeing it as of now. People are still out and about doing things, and this remains unchanged. However, they’ve chosen to do all of their spending in a very different way,” says Brown. 

According to Brown, this type of consumerism is only trending upward, as online applications allow shoppers to see exactly what they’re getting and know exactly how much they are spending. However, even as hermit consumerism is becoming a standard worldwide, where does Canada, and by extension, Ontario, fit into the equation? 

Givex has a primary office in Ontario, and as a result, Brown has observed the spending habits of Ontarians. Based on what he and his team have found, people all over the province aren’t all that different from the rest of the world.

“Speaking to Canada and specifically Ontario, there are city habits and non-city habits. City life is fast-moving, everybody has to get from here to there and they don’t have time to stop. So they take advantage of hermit consumer habits in a way that helps them,” says Brown.

“Then outside of the city, there aren’t brick-and-mortar options for a lot of stores, so now with online ordering, they have an expanded marketplace.” 

As for how the rest of the Canadian market will continue to adjust to hermit consumer habits, Brown indicates that what is being experienced right now are just growing pains — and that eventually —  retailers and hospitality locations will keep pace with consumer applications or stagnate.

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