The Online Market – Where Branding is Essential

The Canadian online market has exploded during the pandemic. Long considered under-developed, compared to the US, and Europe, the pandemic forced grocery retailers to address a sharp increase in consumer shopping volume. The online market share for the 52-week period ending July 2021 was 3.4%, [i] as compared to 1.2% for the 52-week period ending June 2019.[ii] Yet, businesses are not branding themselves properly online. According to Nielsen IQ, 84% of all online searches are brandless.[iii] So, what are these businesses doing to stand out online.

online shopping


The Three Branding Rules:

When I was listening to Carman Allison’s webinar and he mentioned this statistic, I said to myself, how could this be? We all understand the value of branding, yet businesses are forgetting the 3 cardinal rules concerning branding:

  1. Your brand shapes your business, and how your customers view
  2. Your brand is your most valuable asset, and cannot be copied.
  3. Your brand communicates your story, point of differential, and promise.

No doubt this online branding issue is hurting the smaller brands. For example, I searched “ketchup” on both Amazon and Costco. Here were the results:

Amazon: the first half page of my search was dominated by Heinz, and French’s.

Costco: the first half page of my search was dominated by Heinz.

This is troubling for smaller brands on 3 fronts:

  1. In 2020 larger manufacturers collectively lost 1.3 points or $12.1B in sales to smaller players.[iv]
  2. Due to the rate of inflation on food,
    1. 95% of consumers plan to alter their shopping habits.
    2. 60% of consumers plan to switch to lower-priced options, including store brands.[v]
  3. Shoppers are now more inclined to look for brands that align with their own values.

Since Covid-19, consumer behaviour has changed, and brands need to evolve to this “new normal” to stay relevant, especially online as the competition is much stronger. With this in mind, let’s reveal five branding statistics businesses should take into consideration moving forward:[vi]

Five Branding Stats for Businesses:

  1. Authenticity: 86% of consumers reveal authenticity is a key factor when deciding what brand to support.
  2. Trust: 81% of consumers say they need to be able to trust the brand to purchase it.
  3. Colour Matters: Using a signature colour can increase brand recognition by 80%.
  4. Transparency: 66% of consumers feel transparency is one of the most attractive qualities of a brand.
  5. Social Issues: 64% of consumers would purchase or boycott a brand solely on the position it takes on a social or political issue.

Millennials and Generation Z are redefining brand loyalty. These two consumer segments are critical for the brand’s success, especially online, given a recent study by Kibo revealed: 28% of Gen Z and 24% of Millennials note they will likely shop online more than before.[vii] Branding has been critical, but no more than it is today, especially with the consumer segments mentioned above. Unlike the generations before them, they are placing a greater emphasis on the role brands play in today’s society.


[i]ACV, Nielsen IQ., Period ending July 2021

[ii] ACV Channel Development, Nielsen, Period ending June 2019

[iii] Nielsen IQ, Carman Allison 2021

[iv] Larger CPG Companies Lose Market Share to Small Competitors Despite Surging Sales Spurred by Pandemic,, February 2021

[v] How is Inflation Changing Shopping Habits, December 2021

[vi] OBERL0, 10 Branding Statistics You Need To Know,, December 2020

[vii] Gen Z and Millennial Shoppers Have Shifted Online and the Move is Permanent for Many,, December 2020