Canadians using AI to find deals, says EY report

13 June 2024 2 min. read

Amid persistent inflation, Canadians are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to help them find lower-cost alternatives, according to the most recent EY Future Consumer Index report.

"We’re seeing a shift towards independent consumerism, where people are actively seeking out information, making decisions, and taking actions autonomously,” said Elliot Morris, EY Canada grocery and consumer packaged goods leader. “With that, consumers are becoming more self-directed and tech-savvy in their shopping journeys – leveraging AI to discover savings and create convenience.”

Although few fully understand it (18%), nearly a quarter (71%) are using AI on e-commerce platforms. A further 61% think AI will improve online shopping in the future.

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The influence of influencers

Of the respondents who follow an influencer, half (49%) said they do so because they make content they find valuable, while 56% do so because they feel the content reflects similar views to their own.

Trust in influencers translates to purchases, with 61% of respondents having bought a product because of an influencer’s recommendation. Millennials (39%) and Gen Z (34%) are predictably driving this trend.

“Because brands can't dictate influencer messaging, establishing an influencer network that maximizes return on investment will demand a delicate balance between trust and oversight to safeguard brand reputation,” said Claudiane Boulay, EY Canada consumer marketing leader. “That’s why selecting influencers aligned with brand values and audience aspirations is crucial to be successful.”

Data worries

High-profile breaches and attacks have heightened data security concerns, with 64% of respondents worried about ID theft, up from 51% in April 2023. Meanwhile, 60% of Canadian are concerned about data security, up 9 points from April 2023, and 59% are concerned about the company they share data with being hacked, an increase of 14 points.

"Data security is paramount for consumer trust," said Morris. "Companies must be transparent about data use and invest in cybersecurity to reassure consumers and protect their information."