“Buying a vehicle can be a stressful process. And with the microchip shortage impacting inventory and thus vehicle pricing, there are clear challenges that the industry faces. Concerns among consumers with overpaying for their next vehicle are palpable. The way consumers are purchasing a car is changing, with younger consumers more likely to consider the online route. Consequently, operators in the category need to focus on providing modern options for consumers to purchase their next vehicle.”
Andrew Zmijak, Research Analyst, Consumer Behaviour

This Report discusses the following key topics:

  • The impact of COVID-19 on the automotive market.
  • How the market for automobiles will fare post-COVID-19.
  • Pandemic-related change in driving habits, vehicle purchase plan, type of vehicle under consideration, reasons for purchase, research behaviours and attitudes towards the car purchasing process.
  • The challenges the market faces, market factors impacting the category, marketing and advertising campaigns, as well as innovations and trends in the market.

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Key issues covered in this Report
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
    • Summary
      • Figure 1: Category outlook, 2022-27
    • Opportunities
    • The good old test drive is still key
    • SUVs are the most sought after
    • Maintenance costs influence most
    • Challenges
    • Alarm bells sound on affordability
    • There is a perceived risk involved with buying a used/CPO vehicle
    • Priced out of the market
  3. Market Factors

    • Ballooning inflation to impact consumer spending habits
    • Immigration to help support growth
      • Figure 2: Immigrants as a proportion of Canadian population, 1871-2036
      • Figure 3: Toyota Canada Instagram post, 2021
    • Gasoline prices hit record highs
      • Figure 4: Average retail prices for regular gasoline in Canada, by week, 2020-22
    • The support system for electric vehicle adoption continues to widen
    • Microchip shortage takes a toll on the auto industry
  4. Competitive Strategies

    • The rise of buying a car online
      • Figure 5: Canada Drives Instagram post, 2022
      • Figure 6: 100% Online Car Shopping, 2022
      • Figure 7: CarDoor Canada Instagram post, 2021
    • Focusing on a built-to-order model
      • Figure 8: Ford Canada direct mail, 2021
    • Tesla looks beyond automobiles
      • Figure 9: Tesla Motors Instagram post, 2021
      • Figure 10: Tesla Motors Instagram post, 2021
    • Built for purpose
      • Figure 11: Ford Canada Instagram post, 2022
      • Figure 12: Mazda Canada Instagram post, 2022
    • Leveraging nostalgia
      • Figure 13: Honda Canada Instagram post, 2022
      • Figure 14: Toyota Canada Instagram post, 2021
  5. Market Opportunities

    • Moving into malls
      • Figure 15: Porsche Centre Markham // Now open, 2021
    • Implementing online options
    • Split in demand for EVs and ICE vehicles will mean big changes for dealers
  6. The Consumer – Fast Facts

  7. Vehicle Purchase Plan

    • Consumers slowly hitting the road again
      • Figure 16: Pandemic-related change in driving habits, 2021
    • Purchase intent is slightly down
      • Figure 17: Vehicle purchase plan, 2021
    • Who plans on making a purchase?
      • Figure 18: Vehicle purchase plan, men 18-44 vs women 18-44, 2021
      • Figure 19: Mazda Canada Instagram post, 2022
      • Figure 20: Select attitudes towards the car purchasing process (% any agree), men 18-44 vs women 18-44, 2021
    • Urbanites are looking to buy soon
      • Figure 21: Hyundai Canada Instagram post, 2022
    • South Asian Canadians are a key audience to reach
      • Figure 22: Vehicle purchase plan, South Asian Canadians vs overall, 2021
      • Figure 23: Navs Hyundai Instagram post, 2021
    • Buying new is the way to go for most
      • Figure 24: Type of vehicle purchase, 2021
      • Figure 25: Type of vehicle purchase, by age, 2021
      • Figure 26: Fish Creek Nissan acquisition mail, 2021
      • Figure 27: Thorncrest Ford acquisition email, 2021
  8. Types of Vehicles Considered

    • Consideration for SUVs dominates
      • Figure 28: Types of vehicles considered, 2021
      • Figure 29: Ford Instagram post, 2021
    • Consideration of SUVs among 35-54s really stands out
      • Figure 30: Types of vehicles considered: SUV, by age and gender, 2021
      • Figure 31: Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Owner Story: Heidi, 2021
      • Figure 32: Types of vehicles considered: coupes, sports cars and convertibles, by age, 2021
  9. Reasons for Purchase

    • A third want a vehicle that consumes less or no fuel
      • Figure 33: Reasons for purchase, 2021
      • Figure 34: Nissan Canada Instagram post, 2022
    • Age influences reason for purchase
      • Figure 35: Reasons for purchase, by age, 2021
      • Figure 36: Reasons for purchase, by parental status, 2021
  10. Research Behaviours

    • The test drive is still crucial
      • Figure 37: Research behaviours, 2021
      • Figure 38: Motormouth Andrea Instagram post, 2022
    • A positive dealership experience is crucial but so is word of mouth
      • Figure 39: Drive Festival Instagram post, 2022
    • Younger shoppers like advice, older prefer dealer visits and websites
      • Figure 40: Research behaviours, by age, 2021
    • The importance of reviews across all ages
  11. Attitudes towards the Car Purchasing Process

    • Two thirds are worried they will overpay for their next vehicle
      • Figure 41: Cost-related attitudes towards the car purchasing process (% any agree), 2021
      • Figure 42: Ford mobile ad, 2021
      • Figure 43: Audi mobile ad, 2021
    • Over half believe there is a lot of risk when buying a used/CPO vehicle
      • Figure 44: Cynical attitudes towards used/CPO vehicles (% any agree), 2021
    • Maintenance costs make a difference
      • Figure 45: Myers Orleans Chevrolet Buick GMC loyalty mail, 2021
      • Figure 46: Select attitudes towards the car purchasing process (% any agree), 2021
      • Figure 47: Hyundai Canada Instagram post, 2022
    • Electric vehicle consideration is notable
      • Figure 48: Select attitudes towards the car purchasing process (% any agree), 2021
  12. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Consumer survey data
    • Consumer qualitative research
    • Abbreviations

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


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