In 2021, Canada’s 100 most lucrative imported consumer products attracted US$234.6 billion in Canadian spending on goods acquired from international sources.
That dollar amount represents 47.9% of the overall value of all Canadian imported goods ($489.6 billion), down slightly from the 48.5% for consumer products share for overall imports during 2020.
The 5 most valuable consumer products imported into Canada during 2021 were cars, trucks, automotive parts or accessories, refined petroleum oils, and phones including smartphones.
The total dollar amount for Canada’s top 100 imported consumer products rose by 19.6% in 2021 from $196.2 billion one year prior in 2020 to 2021. For all Canadian imported goods, spending increased more at 21.1%.
Canadian purchases of imported products–both overall and consumer–outperformed the global average upturn of 26.5% from 2020 to 2021 incorporating all importing countries.
Among the top 100 consumer products imported by Canada, 92 increased in total cost from 2020 to 2021 whereas 8 declined.
Changes in Canadian consumer demand for essential imports offer future opportunities for international suppliers who correctly anticipate which upward or downward trends will continue.
Consumer Products Defined
Economics educator BoyceWire defines a consumer product as a final good or end product that a business creates for consumers to buy. For example, consumers often purchase refined petroleum oil at the gas station while imported crude oil is an intermediate good subject to further processing before being sold to end users.
Although there may be a few wealthy individual buyers, products like turbojets are excluded from the consumer products targeted by this study. That is because turbojets are usually purchased by corporations. In contrast, it is common for a consumer to buy a car, truck or motorcycle.
Types of Consumer Products
This article focuses on 3 distinct consumer product types.
Convenience Products are easy to access, non-durable, have relatively lower prices and therefore consumers frequently purchase them. Examples of convenience products are food, alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks, and soap.
Shopping Products are not as easily available, involve more time to make a buying decision, are durable and are not bought as often as most convenience products. A great example of a shopping product is a mobile phone where buying the wrong model is a much more expensive mistake than buying a disappointing loaf of bread.
Specialty Products describe another consumer product type. This grey area includes infrequently purchased, expensive, durable and sometimes rare items. Consumers may consider the product’s brand image when making their purchase decisions. Some examples of speciality products are gold, silver, diamonds, jewelry, and branded refrigerators and dishwashers.
Canadian Consumer Imports Smart List
The searchable marketing intelligence table below showcases Canada’s 100 highest-value imported consumer products in descending order. Items were selected at the four-digit Harmonized System tariff classification code level.
The table’s fourth column is labeled YOY for year over year. The fifth column identifies each entry’s consumer product type.
You can also peruse the greatest increases or decreases in product values from 2020 to 2021. To do so, click on the heading of the fourth column.
|4||Processed petroleum oils||$13,427,020,000||+62.7%||CP|
|5||Phone devices including smartphones||$11,796,491,000||+20%||SP|
|6||Computers, optical readers||$11,460,227,000||+16.3%||SP|
|13||Seats (not barber/dentist chairs)||$3,301,735,000||+14.8%||SP|
|14||Rubber tires (new)||$3,188,018,000||+28.8%||SP|
|16||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$2,791,986,000||+14%||CP|
|20||Miscellaneous plastic items||$2,207,959,000||+3.1%||CP|
|21||Electrical converters/power units||$2,173,158,000||+18%||SP|
|22||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$2,126,052,000||+22.6%||SP|
|24||Electric water heaters, hair dryers||$2,024,325,000||+26.9%||SY|
|27||Miscellaneous food preparations||$1,848,597,000||+10.6%||CP|
|28||Packaged insecticides, herbicides||$1,838,013,000||-4.2%||SP|
|29||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$1,762,765,000||+6.8%||CP|
|31||Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)||$1,645,501,000||+27.1%||SP|
|32||Screws, bolts, washers, hooks, pins||$1,640,940,000||+18.8%||SP|
|34||Household base metal mountings||$1,606,280,000||+19.6%||SY|
|39||Electric storage batteries||$1,532,126,000||+25.1%||SY|
|40||Electric motors, not generating sets||$1,517,342,000||+10.6%||SY|
|41||Other organic cleaning preparations||$1,484,235,000||-4.8%||CP|
|43||Hot-rolled iron/non-alloy steel items||$1,407,862,000||+232.7%||SP|
|45||Vulcanized rubber apparel||$1,357,797,000||+87.5%||SP|
|46||Cases, handbags, wallets||$1,315,629,000||+20.3%||SP|
|47||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$1,273,974,000||+21.3%||SP|
|48||Miscellaneous fruits (fresh)||$1,262,991,000||+19.3%||CP|
|49||Video console games, table games||$1,258,226,000||+26%||SP|
|51||Chocolate, other cocoa preparations||$1,158,571,000||+14%||CP|
|52||Unrecorded sound media||$1,120,995,000||+17.1%||SP|
|53||Paper containers, cellulose wadding||$1,113,313,000||+21.7%||SP|
|54||Dishwash, clean/dry/fill machines||$1,110,620,000||+15%||SY|
|55||Yachts, canoes, row boats||$1,042,314,000||+105.3%||SP|
|56||Electric generating sets, converters||$1,041,813,000||+42.9%||SY|
|57||Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)||$1,034,060,000||+15.4%||CP|
|58||Printed books, brochures||$1,030,179,000||+17.5%||SP|
|59||Computer parts, accessories||$1,010,123,000||+11.6%||SP|
|60||Crustaceans (including lobsters)||$982,759,000||+52.4%||CP|
|61||Vulcanized rubber items||$976,337,000||+12.7%||SP|
|62||Waters with added sugar||$955,496,000||+5.3%||CP|
|63||Women's clothing (not knit/crochet)||$949,849,000||+8.9%||SP|
|64||Miscellaneous preserved fruits||$943,651,000||+4.8%||CP|
|65||Other fresh/chilled vegetables||$904,628,000||+3.4%||CP|
|66||Special hand/machine tools||$884,901,000||+19.9%||SY|
|67||Women's clothing (knit or crochet)||$884,220,000||+35.8%||SP|
|68||Plastic wares (table, kitchen, toiletry)||$882,982,000||+25.7%||CP|
|70||Iron/steel stoves, barbecues||$869,891,000||+81.7%||SY|
|71||Sauces, condiments, seasoning||$834,080,000||+8.4%||CP|
|73||Miscellaneous textile items||$806,884,000||-67.4%||SP|
|74||Fish fillets, pieces||$789,385,000||+20.4%||CP|
|76||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)||$750,300,000||+29.9%||SP|
|78||Men's suits (unknit/non-crochet)||$712,450,000||+15.5%||SP|
|80||Plastic tile or roll coverings||$690,174,000||+27.2%||SP|
|81||Other meats (prepared/preserved)||$687,632,000||+22.8%||CP|
|82||Fresh or chilled beef||$662,818,000||+11.9%||CP|
|83||Fresh or dried citrus fruit||$656,436,000||+7.5%||CP|
|86||Malt extract, food preparations||$629,609,000||+2.5%||CP|
|87||Sanitary towels, baby napkins/liners||$614,114,000||-1.3%||CP|
|88||Coal, solid fuels made from coal||$607,977,000||+6.9%||CP|
|89||Fruit and vegetable juices||$603,705,000||+3.8%||CP|
|91||Tissues, napkins, toilet paper||$598,591,000||-23.6%||CP|
|94||Synthetic paints, varnishes, enamels||$573,023,000||+7.6%||SP|
|95||Other printed pictures, photos||$569,598,000||+23.7%||SY|
|96||Soap, organic surface-active goods||$566,094,000||-11.2%||SP|
|98||Sugar (cane or beet)||$543,142,000||+23.3%||CP|
|99||Grapes (fresh or dried)||$533,815,000||+4.3%||CP|
|100||Glass bottles, other containers||$520,501,000||+18.3%||SP|
The most popular product type is shopping products (SD) led by cars, trucks, automobile parts or accessories, mobile phones and computers. Shopping products approached about half (48) of Canada’s top 100 imported consumer goods.
In second place via 33 entries are convenience products (CP) led by medication mixes in dosage, processed petroleum oils and plastic packing goods including lids and caps.
There were 19 speciality products (SY). Examples of speciality products are Canadian imports of gold and silver.
Durable consumer products are goods like cars, refrigerators and furniture that last a relatively long time. Consumers can put durable products to use again and again. By product type, note that all shopping products and speciality products are considered as durable consumer products.
Non-durable consumer products (ND) are goods that are not re-used once consumed. Alcoholic beverages and bananas are examples of non-durable goods. Convenience products are uniquely non-durable consumer products.
Based on the product types identified in the above table, 67 of Canada’s highest-value consumer imported products are durable while 33 are classified as non-durable.
Fastest-Growing Consumer Imports
Listed below are the top 10 consumer products imported into Canada that experienced the highest percentage increases in spending from 2020 to 2021.
- Items made from hot-rolled iron or steel: Up 232.7% ($1.41 billion)
- Yachts, canoes, row boats: Up 105.3% ($1.04 billion)
- Vulcanized rubber clothing and accessories: Up 87.5% ($1.36 billion)
- Stoves, barbecues made from iron or steel: Up 81.7% ($869.9 million)
- Corn: Up 80.2% ($818.2 million)
- Trailers: Up 65.1% ($3.2 billion)
- Motorcycles: Up 63.1% ($775 million)
- Processed petroleum oils: Up 62.7% ($783.6 million)
- Silver (unwrought): Up 60.2% ($4.2 billion)
- Sports equipment: Up 58.6% ($2 billion)
Among the above top gainers, 8 items are durable goods that consumers can re-use over time. Drilling down, 6 of the durable items are shopping products that require a comparatively longer time to make a buying decision, while 2 top gainers are periodically purchased speciality items namely stoves and barbecues made from iron or steel and unprocessed silver.
The fastest-growing convenience products are corn and refined petroleum oils. Consumers typically consider these items as non-durable products commonly referred to as disposable goods and therefore are used only once.
Worst-Declining Consumer Imports
Canada’s spending on the following 8 items decreased from 2020 to 2021.
- Miscellaneous textile items: Down -67.4% ($806.9 million)
- Gold (unwrought): Down -25% ($6.5 billion)
- Tissues, napkins, toilet paper: Down -23.6% ($598.6 million)
- Soap, organic surface-active goods: Down -11.2% ($566.1 million)
- Miscellaneous organic cleaning preparations: Down -4.8% ($1.5 billion)
- Packaged insecticides, herbicides: Down -4.2% ($1.8 billion)
- Automobile parts/accessories: Down -1.3% ($14.2 billion)
- Sanitary towels, baby napkins/liners: Down -1.3% ($614.1 million)
There were 3 non-durable convenience products among the above decliners, notable in that they are consumed one time only. Gold was the lone speciality product to make the list of leading losers.
The remaining 4 import decliners are shopping products that normally require more time for shoppers to make buying decisions. Purchases under the shopping products category are more likely to be deferred than convenience products.
The greatest-shrinking shopping products range from automobile parts or accessories to soap and organic surface-active goods.
Key Suppliers by Country
This analysis reveals competitive suppliers that target Canada’s demand for its top 5 consumer import products.
The biggest Canadian imported consumer product by value is cars. Canada’s 4 other leading consumer imports are trucks, automobile parts or accessories, refined petroleum oils, and mobile phones.
Below, you will find major supplying countries for the following Canadian imports.
Cars: United States (49.2% of total), Japan (12.2%), Mexico (11.7%), South Korea (10.8%), Germany (7.1%), United Kingdom (2.4%), Slovakia (1.6%), mainland China (1.3%), Italy (1.2%), and Hungary (0.6%).
Trucks: United States (80% of total), Mexico (16.5%), Germany (1.1%), Japan (0.9%), United Kingdom (0.5%), Finland (0.3%), Spain (0.2%), Sweden (also 0.2%), Thailand (0.1%), and Turkey (also 0.1%).
Automobile parts or accessories: United States (62.1% of total), mainland China (10.7%), Mexico (9.1%), Japan (7.3%), Germany (2.5%), South Korea (1.6%), India (1%), Taiwan (0.9%), Italy (0.5%) and Thailand (0.4%).
Refined petroleum oils: United States (75.4% of total), Netherlands (7.6%), Belgium (2.5%), Russia (2.1%), United Kingdom (2%), Norway (1.6%), Sweden (1.5%), Lithuania (0.8%), Finland (also 0.8%), and mainland China (0.6%).
Mobile phones: mainland China (61.6% of total), Vietnam (13.1%), Mexico (6.5%), United States (5.1%), Taiwan (3.4%), Malaysia (2.6%), South Korea (1.5%), Thailand (also 1.5%), Czech Republic (0.5%), and Germany (also 0.5%).
More great research: Canada’s Main Imports by Top Supplier Countries, US Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, China’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, UK’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, Mexico’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products by Value
Independent insights and analysis presented in this article are based on researched facts and statistics sourced from the following educational portals.
BoyceWire, Consumer Goods Definition.
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: Canada Economy.
International Trade Centre, Trade Map.
Trading Economics, Canada Consumer Spending.
Wikipedia, List of largest consumer markets.
World’s Top Exports, Canada’s Top 10 Imports.