Canadians are big deal seekers

But, as a new survey points out, we also want transparent pricing.

Canadians love a good deal. Or 91% of us seem to, anyway.

That percentage, based on a recent online survey of about 1,500 Canadians from the Queen’s School of Business, experience “great happiness or pleasure” from a sale or discount. At 94%, women are more likely than men (89%) to agree that sales make them happy.

That’s no longer limited to just big-ticket purchases like TVs or furniture, but is also now the case for 82% of consumers for day-to-day spending like groceries and household items. Residents of Quebec are most likely to comparison shop for everyday items. Quebecers are also more likely to feel embarrassed if they think others paid less than they did for the same product (54%, compared with 36% for the rest of Canada).

Canadians also like to brag about their purchases – 89% let others know when they’ve received a good deal or discount. More women (at 93%) will share their discount stories with others, compared with 85% of men. And at 97%, Atlantic Canadians are most likely to boast about their discount purchases (88% for the rest of Canada).

But what is a good deal? Nearly half (49%) of consumers believe they’re saving money if a product is discounted. On the other hand, 45% also believe stores inflate regular prices in order to discount a product.

“While the majority of consumers will be drawn to sales or discount pricing, the Internet has created an entirely new strategic consumer that companies need to be aware of,” Yuri Levin, Queen’s School of Business professor said in a release. “The rise of social networking helps consumers share information and figure out pricing patterns; as businesses become more sophisticated, so too do consumers.”

Canadians do feel certain products and services end up costing more than they think because of hidden charges or confusing pricing. Mobile phone plans, for example, were seen by 63% to end up costing more than the advertised or quoted price, and about half felt the same about cars, TV packages and long distance or roaming phone charges. Albertans were most likely to see airline tickets as costing more than they think, with 71% of residents in that province agreeing, while Quebecers were the least likely to feel that way, at 42%.

“Transparency of pricing is perhaps the most immediate impact of the internet and social networking,” Levin also noted. “Companies accustomed to practicing differential pricing now have their prices exposed either officially through their own Web sites or unofficially, through consumer networking. Customers are jumping the ‘fences’ that companies have carefully set up between market segments.”

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