The world, and Canada have changed. On January 23, Canada reported its first case of COVID-19, eventually ushering in an era of stay at home orders and social distancing across the country. Over six months later, Canada is looking to “restart” their economy. It is still unclear how Canadian consumer purchase behavior has changed and which sectors will see full recovery as a result of pent-up demand.

Marketers need solutions that can provide actionable insights, backed by live data, to power their strategy and innovation, marketing, branding and customer engagement. Quantcast uses first party data to gauge consumer interest in Canada, diving specifically into the automotive, travel and tourism verticals to provide these actionable insights.

Changing transportation needs result in higher used car interest

Vehicle purchases have become more desirable than using the public transit or rideshare services.

Despite new measures implemented by Canadian transit system like the mandatory usage of masks on TTC trains, there continues to be concerns surrounding the health safety of public transit. This combined with attractive offers from car manufacturers and lower borrowing costs has fueled Canadian interests in car purchases.

Our data shows that the return of automotive traffic has coincided with an increased interest in purchasing and selling cars. Specifically, the certified pre-owned and used car market has seen a robust recovery that began as early as the start of April.

Used car buying shifts to younger and broader appeal

With car buying interest up, the next next question is who is buying cars now and how have they changed because of COVID-19? Our demographic data tells us the used car market had over-indexed versus the national baseline to the 35-54 age group before the pandemic, but this has now shifted to 25-29 and 50+ buyers.

Travel and tourism

The travel and hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit sectors since the COVID-19 pandemic has forced social distancing measures and travel restrictions on Canadians. On March 16, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new actions under Canada’s COVID-19 response. This included avoiding non-essential travel for at home Canadians, and for residents abroad, they were asked to return home immediately and self quarantine for 14 days.

Recently, as daily coronavirus cases continue to drop and restrictions are continually lifted, Canadians are now feeling increasingly optimistic about travel in a new way.

Air and Cruise travel has yet to recover, but trip planning interest has seen recent encouraging gains

Our interest data tells us a similar story with cruises, despite some recent promotions from the largest cruise lines like free upgrades. Traffic to cruise related sites have been down by almost 40% compared to January numbers.  Similarly, airline site traffic has recovered slightly from the height of the pandemic, but it is still only around 25% of pre pandemic levels. 

On the other hand, interest in trip planning and research sites like and have begun to recover since dropping significantly near the first week of March suggesting Canadians are finding other ways to travel and spend time away from school and work.

These are just a sample of our key findings. You can access the full report here.

We’re continuing to look at how consumer behavior continues to change over time. Be sure to check out our insights hub for new insights in the coming weeks.

For more information on how Quantcast can help your brand understand online consumer behavior in real-time, get in touch here.