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Canadian Market Research Resources



The following is a list of key resources for conducting Canadian market research.  The emphasis is on free and low cost information.


Market Research Basics  

Whether you are selling to consumers or businesses, market research comes down to answering one basic question:

Who is going to buy my product/service today?

The importance of "buy" and "today" cannot be stressed enough.  Many new entrepreneurs confuse "need" with "buy".  Just because someone "needs" a particular product or service does not mean they are going to buy it.

Similarly, do not base your business planning on potential markets materializing in the future.  Look at the market that exists today.  Your business will not survive to realize potential sales if you do make enough sales today!

Market research should not be a “feel good” exercise that totals up all the customers that will, should or might buy your product/service some day in the future.  Its sole purpose is to identify the easiest way to make money.  Target your most avid purchasers and let your product/service sell itself.

The following are resources you can use to gain further insight into the whole process of Market Research:




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Key Resources  

These resources provide an excellent (and free!) starting point for conducting both business market and consumer market research.

  1. Market Research Handbook brings you the most current and extensive demographic indicators and data on Canadian markets.

  2. Spending Patterns in Canada statistical highlights and key tables from the Survey of Household Spending (SHS). For more current and more detailed information from this same survey by province and metropolitan area  see the Canadian Market Estimates below.

  3. Annual Demographic Statistics provides the most recent population estimates by age group and sex, as well as data on births, deaths and migrations.

  4. 2001 Census provides the most recent Census data.  While this data is getting old it can still be instruction even as a community profile baseline. Detailed results from the 2006 Census will not be available until the end of 2007.

  5. FP Markets-Canadian Demographics This publication updates key census variables at the municipal level to the current year.  It also includes psychographic data as well as economic and retail trade estimates. You can access it in most major libraries or business development centres

  6. Superdemographics provides free psychographic profiles by postal code based areas.  You can purchase other data is you want.

  7. Canada Newswire is a database of Canadian corporate, government and private news releases.  Keyword search for relevant information or to identify competitors.

  8. CCN Matthews is another database of Canadian news releases.  Again keyword search for relevant information or to identify competitors.



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Polls, Surveys, Studies & Reports  

Publicly released surveys and reports provide you with access to specific detailed information that would not otherwise be available to researchers with limited budgets.  This includes insights into consumer trends as well as demographic and psychographic insights into specific population groups (e.g. teens, immigrants, visible minorities, millionaires).

The Stats Link Canada database tracks the latest government and non-government statistical information and organizes it by major sectors and sub-sectors.  The references are sourced from the countries leading business and news outlets.

This resource is most effective if you already have a rough idea of the market you are targeting.

Use the FREE TRIAL option to find out what polls and surveys have been recently released that can provide you with market insight.


   Business Market Researchers:

Use the "Workplace - Operation" and "Economic Economic Indicators" subsectors as well as any other appropriate workplace categories. 

You should also research the specific industries you expect to target.  Search the full Stats Link Canada database, use the Stats Link Canada subject index or consult the appropriate Research Consultant sector pages





Search Stats Link Canada - FREE TRIAL

Sector Sector Glossary
                                                     SEARCH HELP
  • Enter words or phrases in one or more fields.

  • Narrow your search by selecting specific sectors or subsectors

  • Browse an entire sector or subsector by leaving all other search fields blank.

  • Results are listed from the most current data release.

NB: Search results will appear in a new window.



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Canadian Market Estimates  


These profiles provide you with the data necessary to estimate local market size for specific products and services.  They are based on the Statistics Canada Survey of Household Spending.

Data includes the percentage of households reporting a purchase and their average annual expenditure on that particular product or service.  Segmentation by income group, household type, province and metropolitan area are available.

View samples:

Full Market Profile ($75.00)
(All available provinces, territories & metropolitan areas)

Summary Canadian Market Profile ($16.00)
(National data only)

Provincial Market Profiles ($24.00)


Select your Canadian Market
(Opens a new window with available sub-markets)

Click here for provincial profiles

Games of Chance / Gambling
Gifts of Money & Contributions
Health Care
Household Furnishings & Equipment
Household Operation
Investments in the Home
Miscellaneous Expenditures
Personal Care
Personal Insurance & Pension
Personal Taxes
Reading Material
Tobacco Products & Alcohol Beverages

* Data covers 2000 to 2004
2004 data released December 12, 2005.

More information

Profiles e-mailed next business day.



Provincial Market Estimates 

You can also order Canadian Market estimates for specific provinces.  Each profile includes estimated provincial market size, data by provincial income groups as well as separate figures for major metropolitan areas.

Get more accurate local market estimates by using the market data most appropriate for your needs!

Select your province to view a sample or to order a profile.

Newfoundland & Labrador
Prince Edward Island
Nova Scotia
New Brunswick
British Columbia


* Data covers 2000 to 2004
2004 data released December 12, 2005.

Profiles e-mailed next business day.



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  The following is a list of web sites which contain free statistics related to the Canadian market.

When you click on a link you will be taken to a GDSourcing Site Summary which will describe the type of data available at the web site. 

To access the data referenced click on the links provided.

Business Market Researchers:

Also use the appropriate Research Consultant sector pages to find additional web sites related to your target sector or search the subject index of all web sites



  Select a Website

View available Market Research websites

(Opens in new window)



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Competitors, Clients & Suppliers    

It is vital you understand who your competitors are and what are their strengths. 

The best way to find your toughest competitors it to talk to your clients and customers directly.  Who do they use already?  Where would they go if they wanted to the product or service you are providing?

Another source for locating competitors is business directories and buyers guides. Below is a list of online resources to help you identify your competitors.  They will also be helpful resources for identifying suppliers and business clients.

Do not forget to consult the various business directories available at your local library or business resource centre.

Once you have a list of competitors, clients and/or suppliers keyword search them online and in a periodical database.  This will help you to determine their public image and marketing strategy (i.e. how they present themselves to their market)

You can access periodical databases through your local public library web site.  All you need it a valid public library card.

Click here to find your local public library website.



   Business Market Researchers:

These resources can be used to identify the size of a business market based on industry, employee-size range and revenue-size.  Especially see the InfoCanada database. 

Your local library should also have various general and specialized business directories that you can use to access further information about individual businesses in your target market.


IMPORTANT: MARKET RESEARCH IS NOT ABOUT NAMES & ADDRESSES. It is about understanding who your best customers are and the most effective way to reach them.  Use the resources described above to find this out.  This will help you find the best prospects included in the databases below.


    Select a Company Directory    


NB: Do not consider the listings in any of the above directories to be
exhaustive. Conduct your own primary research to identify other companies that may not be listed.

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  If you require further research assistance, please use our QueryDesk    

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REVIEWED: 02/13/2006
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