Fast Facts: Products trump marketing in 2017

Amex and Nielsen report shows a positive outlook for retail brands as competition heats up.

Retailers in some of Canada’s largest industries are investing more in product diversification to strengthen their brands and remain competitive in the coming year, according to a new survey of Canadian business leaders conducted by American Express and Nielsen Canada.

The financial and credit card company’s Retail Insights Report 2017 polled 375 Canadian businesses in the grocery, gas, restaurant, fast food and general retail sectors between March 7 and April 5.

A majority of the respondents said they had either “somewhat” or “extremely” positive outlooks for both their business sector and their individual companies for the next 12 months. Notably, 89% of polled companies reported positive outlooks, a record over the five years the study has been conducted.

When indicating what they’ll be doing more of over the course of 2017, “expand product offering” ranked highest, with 49% of respondents saying they will do so. Marketing and advertising ranked second, with 40% projecting an increase.

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In the realm of ecommerce development, fast food restaurants and general merchants indicated a much higher focus on such investment and attention for their stores with approximately one-third of respondents in those sectors planning to increase investment (versus 12% to 13% from the study’s other three focus areas).