diving into the latest consumer analytics in canada

In 2020, the beverage alcohol industry in Canada faced unforeseeable difficulties impacting all parts of the chain: across the country, manufacturers, suppliers, and operators faced a myriad of challenges as they navigated lockdowns, attempted to keep up with safety regulations and navigate consumer demands, all the while attempting to plan for an uncertain future. Critical lifelines, such as the quick pivot to delivery services, have supported On Premise businesses thus far. However, in light of the advances in vaccines, there is light at the end of the tunnel – suppliers and operators can now begin to rebuild their consumer strategies to draw in custom when the time comes. 

To support our Canadian clients in building effective consumer strategies, our team launched a bi-annual survey in Fall 2020, which collected invaluable preference and behavior data directly from Canadian consumers. Also available for U.S. On Premise suppliers and retailers, the On Premise User Survey (OPUS) produces a highly detailed report revealing the dramatic shifts in On Premise consumer behavior, preferences and expectations, as well as their ongoing response to COVID-19. Asking Canadian consumers questions specific to the Canadian market has allowed us to closely track changes in opinions and shifts in key demands from those who are active in bars and restaurants across the country.

While 2020 has shown just how important consumers are to On Premise survival, our OPUS data also reveals the flip side of the coin: consumers want (and very much miss) On Premise experiences. Despite safety concerns, our Fall data revealed that 45% of those who had visited the On Premise in the previous three months carried on doing so at least once a week – consumers were readily embracing getting back to bars and restaurants.

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest draws of the On Premise is the ability to commemorate an occasion. National closures have led to a significant occasion gap, removing a much-loved method of seeing friends and family, or to refuel on a day out. Having felt the impact of this absence, consumers in Canada are looking forward to being able to go out as normal, but suppliers and operators will need to encourage and entice consumers, even while the situation remains uncertain. By identifying what their consumers are most looking forward to when they can revisit On Premise spaces, suppliers and operators can appropriately tailor their marketing and key messages to draw consumers back in when the time comes.


Looking into the OPUS consumer satisfaction data, our research showed that 73% of consumers who had been out in the last three months were satisfied with their overall experience. While this is promisingly high, it shows room for improvement; by stocking the right brands, the right drink categories, and by creating the atmosphere consumers want, this overall figure is likely to improve. For example, we have found consumers are far more likely to want a ‘quiet / relaxed atmosphere’ (83%) than a busy / lively atmosphere’ (17%) in bars and restaurants at this time. This perhaps comes from wanting to feel a sense of calm, wanting somewhere they can talk in a new setting to compensate for the reduced human contact and the ongoing stresses of COVID-19.

Why is this important for suppliers and operators? Right now, it’s difficult to discern the core focus areas when there is so much surrounding the reopening and survival of venues at present. Harnessing the consumer analytics derived from these surveys allows our clients to create a fuller picture of what they can do to stay ahead in these challenging times. Consumers are questioned on a range of key areas including expectations around safety precautions and preferences, food and drink assortment, as well as their intentions going forward. OPUS consumer analytics have helped many beverage clients leverage their brand while communicating with chains and outlets. Manufacturers have benefited from highlighting their understanding of the outlet and how they help to meet consumers expectations. A supported and rounded understanding of consumer behavior can help you to prepare for meetings in the year ahead and support your assumptions of brand users to reinforce your decisions.

Using the data provided, CGA Nielsen’s aim is to support Canadian clients, whether retailers or suppliers, in answering key business questions, understanding the consumers of unique brands and categories, and in building a stronger national and regional account strategy. 

The results of CGA Nielsen’s Survey (Canadian On Premise User Survey or OPUS) is available now. For more information, contact the CGA Nielsen team via hello@nielsencga.com.


CGA Nielsen is the definitive On Premise measurement, insight and research consultancy empowering the world’s most successful food and drink brands in this unique channel.  CGA Nielsen are unparalleled in the supply of On Premise suppliers with best-in-class research, data and analytics all overlaid with global On Premise consultancy credentials.

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