Intent to purchase in-store continues to grow

The latest IMI data also reveals excitement around getting outside, attending events and traveling domestically.


The latest IMI insights reveal pent up interest in visiting grocery stores, indoor malls and retail environments, but also auto and recreational product shows.

The consulting firm hosted a webinar revealing its latest global pandemic data, with January insights collected from 100,000 people more than 13 years of age across 39 countries, including 500 Canadians.

According to the data, Canadians are showing a big net increase in shopping intent at grocery (29%) versus June and September 2020 figures – when it was under 20% and 10%, respectively – with a solid net increase in intent to shop at retail (36%).

Compared with counterparts in the U.S., U.K. and Australia, Canadians are also showing a strong intent to visit a recreational product and auto show, far outpacing those countries, with a 44% net increase in intent to visit the former and 30% for the latter. While trailing Australia, Canada is still seeing a 20% net increase in future intention for attending boat shows.

“There is more energy, excitement about attending these things,” according to Don Mayo, IMI global managing partner, who adds that there is lot of hope in the market, with 100 million vaccinations implemented.


And the desire to venture outdoors is not confined to specific events. There is a big “net intent to” spike for domestic travel, even as international travel has flatlined thanks to the latest round of federal restrictions.

The data also reveals strong interest spikes in attending charity and indoor events and concerts.

“There is a population out there, salivating to get out and experience life, something we have not seen in our lifetimes,” Mayo says. “There is huge pent up demand for sporting events, travel and community events.”

He is even buoyed by the slight intent increase to travel by plane and stay in a hotel. In the IMI presentation, Mayo pointed out a “total reversal” in cruise ship interest, which was in negative territory in April and September of 2020 and now on the positive side of the ledger.

To help brands understand how they can help consumers get out and experience things, the “Wave 1″ insights also included a survey of 400 North Americans on their perceptions of how different brands are engaging. Brewer Stella Artois’ outreach to support Canadian restaurants with in-kind gift card contributions was a top 10% performer, according to respondents, while Kraft Heinz’s Valentine’s Day LTO Candy Kraft Dinner was a bottom 50% performer.

Mayo says that the global consensus of an October pandemic end-date should not paralyze brands who need to be present and relevant now, well in advance of when things return to normal. Going forward, IMI recommends focusing on action and engagement, embracing a human people-centred tack, with success based around being “relevant, compelling and better.”