In 2020, Canada’s 100 imported consumer products that generated the most spending totaled US$195.4 billion. That dollar amount represents 48.2% of the overall value of all Canadian imported goods ($405 billion).
The 5 most valuable consumer products imported into Canada during 2020 were cars, automobile parts or accessories, trucks, phones and computers.
The total dollar amount for Canada’s top 100 imported consumer products declined by -9.8% from 2019 to 2020, compared to a -10.6% drop for all Canadian imported goods for the year.
Canadian purchases of imported products–both overall and consumer–actually dropped at a faster pace than the global average decline of -8.2% from 2019 to 2020 for all importing countries.
Among the top 100 consumer products imported by Canada, 41 increased in total sales from 2019 to 2020 whereas 59 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 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.
|5||Computers, optical readers||$9,863,041,000||+4.8%||SP|
|8||Processed petroleum oils||$8,260,565,000||-41.6%||CP|
|10||Seats (not barber/dentist chairs)||$2,889,545,000||-18.3%||SP|
|13||Rubber tires (new)||$2,480,718,000||-19.0%||SP|
|14||Miscellaneous textile items||$2,454,579,000||+599.0%||SP|
|15||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$2,448,158,000||-0.5%||CP|
|18||Miscellaneous plastic items||$2,143,757,000||+15.4%||CP|
|21||Packaged insecticides, herbicides||$1,900,921,000||+33.1%||SP|
|22||Electrical converters/power units||$1,843,480,000||-7.9%||SP|
|23||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$1,737,810,000||-9.8%||SP|
|24||Other food preparations||$1,671,022,000||+3.7%||CP|
|25||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$1,651,779,000||+1.1%||CP|
|26||Electric water heaters, hair dryers||$1,604,851,000||+7.2%||SY|
|28||Other organic cleaning preparations||$1,557,982,000||+18.0%||CP|
|33||Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys||$1,401,318,000||-0.4%||SP|
|34||Screws, bolts, washers, hooks, pins||$1,383,970,000||-16.6%||SP|
|35||Furniture base metal mountings||$1,347,440,000||-10.1%||SP|
|36||Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)||$1,304,313,000||-16.5%||SP|
|40||Electric storage batteries||$1,229,343,000||-7.8%||SY|
|42||Cases, handbags, wallets||$1,098,148,000||-25.6%||SP|
|43||Felt or other non-woven garments||$1,096,064,000||+221.0%||SP|
|44||Miscellaneous fruits (fresh)||$1,057,799,000||+4.8%||CP|
|45||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$1,051,505,000||-15.6%||SP|
|46||Chocolate, other cocoa preparations||$1,018,966,000||+0.2%||CP|
|47||Video console games, table games||$1,006,591,000||-8.8%||SP|
|48||Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines||$966,336,000||+1.9%||SY|
|49||Unrecorded sound media||$960,583,000||-12.9%||SP|
|50||Paper containers, cellulose wadding||$915,553,000||+0.3%||SP|
|51||Waters with added sugar||$907,173,000||+7.7%||CP|
|52||Computer parts, accessories||$905,753,000||+11.9%||SP|
|53||Miscellaneous preserved fruits||$900,601,000||-0.9%||CP|
|55||Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)||$896,695,000||+5.0%||CP|
|56||Printed books, brochures||$880,668,000||-13.8%||SP|
|57||Other fresh/chilled vegetables||$874,379,000||-0.2%||CP|
|58||Women's clothing (not knit/crochet)||$871,630,000||-27.2%||SP|
|59||Vulcanized rubber items||$868,465,000||-13.1%||SP|
|61||Tissues, napkins, toilet paper||$783,603,000||+20.3%||CP|
|62||Sauces, mixed condiments, seasoning||$769,349,000||+4.4%||CP|
|64||Interchangeable hand/machine tools||$738,618,000||-4.4%||SY|
|65||Vulcanized rubber apparel/accessory||$732,408,000||+230.3%||SP|
|66||Electric generating sets, converters||$728,236,000||-10.6%||SY|
|67||Plastic wares (table, kitchen, toiletry)||$704,199,000||-3.0%||CP|
|68||Fish fillets, pieces||$656,486,000||-4.1%||CP|
|69||Women's clothing (knit or crochet)||$653,732,000||-12.9%||SP|
|70||Crustaceans (including lobsters)||$648,705,000||-18.2%||CP|
|71||Soap, organic surface-active goods||$637,780,000||+20.0%||SP|
|72||Sanitary towels, baby napkins/liners||$621,053,000||+6.5%||SP|
|73||Men's suits (unknit/non-crochet)||$617,879,000||-29.4%||SP|
|74||Malt extract, food preparations||$613,909,000||+1.3%||CP|
|75||Fresh or dried citrus fruit||$611,685,000||+8.0%||CP|
|76||Fresh or chilled beef||$589,785,000||+17.1%||CP|
|78||Fruit and vegetable juices||$580,903,000||-1.5%||CP|
|79||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)||$578,149,000||-24.7%||SP|
|80||Coal, solid fuels made from coal||$571,486,000||-23.5%||CP|
|83||Miscellaneous meat (preserved/prepared)||$560,721,000||-10.8%||CP|
|85||Plastic tile or roll coverings||$544,448,000||+2.4%||SP|
|86||Prepared cereal foods||$540,369,000||+6.6%||CP|
|87||Other synthetic paints, varnishes||$532,171,000||+3.5%||SP|
|90||Grapes (fresh or dried)||$512,588,000||+2.6%||CP|
|91||Yachts, other pleasure/sports vessels||$507,812,000||-20.4%||SP|
|95||Iron/steel stoves, barbecues||$478,047,000||+6.9%||SY|
|96||Cabbages, cauliflowers, kale||$477,796,000||-2.7%||CP|
|98||Other printed pictures, photos||$461,909,000||-4.7%||SY|
|100||Tufted carpets/textile floor coverings||$444,676,000||-16.1%||SP|
The most popular product type is shopping products (SP) led by cars, automobile parts or accessories, trucks, phones and computers. Shopping products represent about half (49) of Canada’s top 100 imported consumer goods.
In second place via 34 entries are convenience products (CP) led by medications, processed petroleum oils and plastic packing goods including lids and caps.
There were 17 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, 66 of Canada’s highest-value consumer imported products are durable while 34 are classified as non-durable.
You can also peruse the greatest increases or decreases in product values from 2019 to 2020. To do so, click on the heading of the fourth column.
Fastest-Growing Consumer Imports
Listed below are the top 10 consumer products imported into Canada that experienced the highest percentage increases in spending from 2019 to 2020.
- Miscellaneous textile items: Up 599% ($2.5 billion)
- Silver (unwrought): Up 358.6% ($2.6 billion)
- Vulcanized rubber clothing and accessories: Up 230.3% ($732.4 million)
- Garments made from felt or non-woven special fabric: Up 221% (1.1 billion)
- Gold (unwrought): Up 52.2% ($8.7 billion)
- Packaged insecticides, herbicides: Up 33.1% ($1.9 billion)
- Swine meat: Up 24.3% ($562.2 million)
- Tissues, napkins, toilet paper: Up 20.3% ($783.6 million)
- Pasta, couscous: Up 20.1% ($504.7 million)
- Soap, organic surface-active goods: Up 20% ($637.8 million)
Among the above top gainers, 7 items are durable goods that consumers can re-use over time. Drilling down, 5 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 silver and gold.
The fastest-growing convenience products are swine meat; tissues, napkins and toilet paper; and pasta or couscous. 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 10 items decreased at the greatest pace from 2019 to 2020.
- Processed petroleum oils: Down -41.6% ($8.3 billion)
- Tractors: Down -39.9% ($2.4 billion)
- Leather footwear: Down -30.9% ($749.7 million)
- Unknit/non-crocheted men’s suits, trousers: Down -29.4% ($617.9 million)
- Unknit/non-crocheted women’s clothing: Down -27.2% ($871.6 million)
- Automobile parts or accessories: Down -26.9% ($14.5 billion)
- Cases, handbags, wallets: Down -25.6% ($1.1 billion)
- Knitted or crocheted T-shirts, vests: Down -24.7% ($578.1 million)
- Textile footwear: Down -24.2% ($564.4 million)
- Trailers: Down -23.6% ($1.9 billion)
Processed petroleum oils represent the only top 10 decliner that is a non-durable convenience product that is consumed one time only. Not one speciality product made the list of leading losers.
The remaining 9 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 rom tractors to clothing and footwear.
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 automobile parts or accessories, trucks, phones, and computers.
Below, you will find major supplying countries for Canada’s imported:
Cars: United States (48.5% of total), Japan (12.8%), South Korea (12.3%), Mexico (12.1%), Germany (6.2%), United Kingdom (2.4%), Slovakia (1.6%) and Italy (1%).
Automobile parts or accessories: United States (64.7% of total), Mexico (10.8%), China (8.5%), Japan (6.4%), Germany (2.5%) and South Korea (1.4%).
Trucks: United States (83.9% of total), Mexico (12.6%), Germany (1.4%), Japan (0.6%) and United Kingdom (0.4%).
Phones: China (57.7% of total), Vietnam (13.9%), United States (7.1%), Mexico (6.9%), Taiwan (3.2%), Malaysia (2.7%), South Korea (2.3%) and Thailand (1.9%).
Computers: China (58.6% of total), United States (16.1%), Mexico (13.7%), Taiwan (2.9%), Thailand (2.6%), Vietnam (1.6%) and Japan (0.6%).
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.