When it comes to consumer trends, the research is showing that more and more Canadians are seeking out locally manufactured products of all kinds, including those in the construction industry.
A report conducted by Ipsos and released by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) examined more than 1,000 Canadians on consumer behaviour trends, reporting that consumers have a clear appetite for local offerings.
“The consumer sees buying locally as a good thing for creating jobs in the community. Our study shows that’s why they buy local – so that they have a positive impact on their community,” said Pierre Cleroux, Chief Economist with the BDC.
Forty-five per cent of the shoppers in the study report that in the past two years they have actively sought out locally made products. Two-of-five said local production is a key factor in their purchasing habits.
The report also noted that of all consumer trends, the buy-local movement has been the most powerful.
“The ‘Made-in-Canada’ brand is powerful because Canadians have a clear understanding of what buying locally made products means to the national economy,” said Cleroux.
The data certainly shows Canadians are shifting towards putting their money into locally made products, and when it comes to the construction industry, the trend is no different.
“Ontario renovators and builders are definitely keen to use the high-quality products manufactured in Ontario and locally wherever and whenever possible to promote increased economic activity in our province,” said Trevor McKenzie, president of the London Home Builders’ Association and owner of McKenzie Homes, a London-based company that builds single-family homes in the London, Canada area.
Contractors are favouring made-in-Canada products over those sourced from foreign countries and the increasing trend has produced a number of positive economic spinoffs.
The construction and building products sector in Ontario, Canada currently employs 400,000. By purchasing locally, the industry is strengthened, creating opportunity for expansions and job creation.
In some cases it may seem cheaper for a developer or builder to source products from foreign soil. But, the impact of outsourcing manufacturing jobs to other countries can really be locally devastating, points out Denis Vranich, real estate developer at UrbanLife Residential, a Hamilton-based construction business that is committed to green building techniques.
Many local businesses also often align with local charities and fundraising events, creating further positive spin-offs.
Denis Vranich also says that sourcing local products translates into better after-purchase service, mentioning that there is a growing mindset towards giving preference to local companies and choosing products that can be sourced and installed by local companies.
Buying local also benefits the environment by reducing the need for long distance transportation of the products. Local production methods are also often more environmentally-conscious than those over seas.
“Ontario is recognized as a leader in sustainable forest management, providing high-quality products from a reliable source of renewable resources,” said McKenzie.
The Ontario government has also seen the benefit of locally manufactured building products and, in 2014, even initiated the Green Energy Act, which established incentives to provincial manufactures to accelerate the development of new green building products.