Canadian shoppers most trusted online retail brands named across 12 categories

2016 BrandSpark Most Trusted Award (CNW Group/BrandSpark International)

2016 BrandSpark Most Trusted Award (CNW Group/BrandSpark International)

TORONTO — Leading market research firm BrandSpark International today announced the 2016 BrandSpark Most Trusted Awards winners for Canadian Online Retail. The results were based on the annual BrandSpark Canadian Shopper Study.

“Seven in 10 Canadians identify themselves as online shoppers. They want to find great prices on the brands they trust, discover exciting new products, and demand an intuitive shopping experience and lightning fast service. Now shoppers can find out which online retailers were voted most trusted by other shoppers in a national survey,” said Robert Levy, president and CEO of BrandSpark International. “The annual BrandSpark Most Trusted Awards honours the retail and product brands that Canadians trust most, those they would recommend to friends and neighbours.”

Survey participants named the online retailers that they consider their Most Trusted in 12 household and personal shopping categories. Listed below are the national winners.

Online Retail Category – Most Trusted Online Retailers
Baby / Children’s Clothing – The Children’s Place / Old Navy (tie)
Beauty & Cosmetics – Sephora
Books – Amazon
Electronics – Amazon / Best Buy (tie)
Flights – Expedia / Westjet (tie)
Grocery / Food & Beverage – Walmart
Health & Personal Care – Amazon / (tie)
Housewares / Kitchenware – Amazon
Men’s Clothing / Fashion – Amazon / Mark’s (tie)
Toys & Games – Amazon
Travel Accommodations – Expedia
Women’s Clothing / Fashion – Old Navy / Sears (tie)

Online Retail Category Top 3 Most Trusted – Brand (Rank)
Baby / Children’s Clothing – The Children’s Place (1) Old Navy (1) Carter’s (3)
Beauty & Cosmetics – Sephora (1) Amazon (2) (3)
Books – Amazon (1) Chapters (2) Kobo (3)
Electronics – Amazon (1) Best Buy (1) eBay (3)
Flights – Expedia (1) Westjet (1) Air Canada (3)
Grocery / Food & Beverage – Walmart (1) Amazon (2) (3)
Health & Personal Care – Amazon (1) (1) Walmart (3)
Housewares / Kitchenware – Amazon (1) Walmart (2) Hudson Bay (3)
Men’s Clothing / Fashion – Amazon (1) Mark’s (1) Hudson Bay (3)
Toys & Games – Amazon (1) Toys “R” Us (2) Walmart (3)
Travel Accommodations – Expedia (1) (2) (3)
Women’s Clothing / Fashion – Old Navy (1) Sears (1) Hudson Bay (3)

The BrandSpark Most Trusted Awards previously announced results for 150 consumer packaged goods (CPG) product categories and 16 retail store categories. More details can be found at

How brands build and maintain trust
Canadian shoppers also revealed what determines their trust in a retailer: consistently strong value (often driven by low prices or high-value promotions), a strong selection of quality products, and a consistent and convenient shopping experience. This is at least as true for online retailers as for brick-and-mortar, though online the price competition can be even fiercer, and out-of-stock issues can be even more damaging.

Consumer reviews play a key role online with six in 10 shoppers saying they regularly look to reviews to support their purchasing decisions. Most online shoppers are savvy users of reviews, looking to the breakdown of product scores and reading negative reviews in detail to address or eliminate their own personal concerns and give them the confidence to buy.

“When real problems arise with products or the shopping experience, it is important that retail and other brands react transparently and quickly to take responsibility and address the issue. The best e-commerce retailers have greatly overcome the limitations of a lack of physical stores by providing no-hassle returns and other service,” added Levy.

The big winner across several categories is Amazon, trusted by the most shoppers for books, toys & games, and housewares/kitchenware. Amazon also tied with other major national retailers in diverse categories including electronics and personal care. “Amazon has created its own eco-system for shoppers, who can purchase electronics alongside household items or even food products, receive personalized recommendations backed up by extensive consumer reviews, and receive their products quickly with free shipping,” says Levy. “They have set the tone for e-commerce retail, but major retailers like Walmart and Best Buy have also created sophisticated e-commerce platforms, and other online-only retailers like are carving out their own spaces.”

“Canadian retailers will be watching to observe the success this year of Prime Day, Amazon’s annual one-day promotional event with deals exclusively for Amazon Prime members. Prime Day, which is also running in the USA, has also influenced other online retailers to offer deals making the impact even larger for consumers,” said Levy. “Given our work with e-commerce players in China over the past number of years, we have seen these types of online promotions grow dramatically and we can expect the same in Canada.”

How winners are determined
BrandSpark researchers analyzed the unaided responses and the reasons for trusting the brand.  The results were ranked based on the greatest volume of mentions, and if the difference between brands in online retail were not statistically significant, ties were declared. Respondents represented the profile of household shoppers by region. BrandSpark also captured why Canadians selected the brands they trusted the most.

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