Four in Five Canadians Will Not Shop at Stores Deemed “Unsafe”

A new study by Ipsos measures potential COVID related switching behaviours and long-term market opportunities

The author(s)
  • Elen Alexov Marketing Operations Director, North America
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Toronto, Ontario, June 8, 2020 — Health and safety protocols are the new standard for businesses as Provinces and Municipalities begin to relax COVID-19 restrictions. According to a new study conducted by Ipsos, 3 in 5 Canadians now rate health and safety equally important as good customer service. Canadians are looking for companies to step up when it comes to ensuring health and safety measures are in place. This new study brings to light the shifting expectations of Canadians as our world re-opens.  The stakes are high for getting this right for companies with:

  • Eight in ten (82%) Canadians considering health & safety measures to be the most important factor when considering returning to a retailer
  • Four in five Canadians indicating they will delay returning to shopping once restrictions are lifted
  • 64% of Canadians stating they will stop or temporarily stop shopping at a location that doesn’t take health and safety seriously

The study also reveals generational and regional responses to the crisis, with Baby Boomers being the most likely to stop shopping at a location (71%), while Millennials (58%) and Generation Z (50%) are less likely to change behaviour based on health and safety concerns. Albertans are most likely to feel comfortable returning to locations once restrictions are lifted, however this still only represents one in three (33%), while those in Quebec (14%) and Atlantic Canada (14%) are least likely to feel comfortable returning to reopened locations. Men (20%) are slightly more likely than Women (15%) to share this sentiment. 

With all of this at play, there is a high potential for short-term switching behaviours, as well as long-term loyalty opportunities. Companies must adapt and change their operational standards to attract consumers back to their locations as COVID-19 restrictions are loosened. Customer expectations are high, and they are changing. Right now, 1 in 4 consumers (28%) do not trust any industries for their cleanliness and safety protocols. While Canadians recognize that they must also play a role in adhering to health and safety guidelines, 4 in 10 (43%) feel they are putting in a greater effort than companies to do so. There is an opportunity for companies to do better and match that effort, with 7 in 10 (69%) Canadians feeling companies were not exerting the greatest effort to keep customers healthy and safe.

About the Study

As part of the Consumer Health & Safety Check-Up Syndicate an Ipsos survey was conducted May 22nd to 24th, 2020 on the Ipsos Omnibus online platform among 1,000 adults aged 18-74 in Canada which these results are based on. The sample for this study consists of 1,000 individuals across Canada. The sample can be taken as representative of these countries’ general adult population over age 18 and under the age of 75. The data is weighted so that each market’s sample composition best reflects the demographic profile of the adult population according to the most recent census data.

Where results do not sum to 100 or the ‘difference’ appears to be +/-1 more/less than the actual, this may be due to rounding, multiple responses or the exclusion of don't knows or not stated responses. The precision of Ipsos online polls are calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points. For more information on the Ipsos use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website (

For more information on this Factum, please contact:

Becky Harris
Vice-President, Leader Ipsos Channel Performance
+1 416 324 2309
[email protected]

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP

The publication of these findings abides by local rules and regulations.

The author(s)
  • Elen Alexov Marketing Operations Director, North America