Why women love Tim Hortons and Walmart: Study

Costco and Shoppers Drug Mart also listed as some of the top brands for Canadian Women

Tim Hortons is the favourite brand of women across Canada, except in Quebec where it falls to number two behind Jean Coutu, according to a new study from Montreal agency Marketel.

Marketel produced the study to help launch its new marketing-to-women division, Marketelle.

While the enormous purchasing power of female consumers has been well known for years—women buy half of all cars, make 93% of over-the-counter pharmaceutical decisions and are responsible for 80% of home improvement projects—four out of five women still say that advertisers and marketers “don’t get it,” according to Marketelle.

The new division will focus on four key areas: digital and mobile; branded content; social media; and shopper science. Diane Ridgway-Cross, Marketel’s executive vice-president, said the agency is investing “very heavily” in research and consumer insight tools and has built a research panel comprised of 1,000 women across the country, as well as a network of female bloggers that will be used to help clients build a presence in both the blogosphere and social networks.

The study “How Brands Are Winning (and Losing) with Canadian Women”  features insight on the top 10 brands women can’t live without, the state of marketing to women and advice women would give advertisers.

“This study was designed to be provocative, to explore which brands are winning with Canadian women today, and also to delve into the hot-button issues that are turning Canadian women off,” said Ridgway-Cross in the release introducing the study.

“There is quite a body of research that suggests that women tend to have stronger emotional responses to brands and companies than men do—and that the factors that women evaluate brands and companies against are greater in number and more nuanced.”

The study found that Tim Hortons’ Canadian roots and support for local communities, like the Timbits Minor Sports programs, are important factors behind its popularity, particularly with moms. “Tim Hortons keeps me awake thoughout the day so that I can take care of my family,” said one.

Some people may be surprised to see Walmart as the number two brand nationally, added Ridgway-Cross. “But it makes sense. Moms, who act as chief purchasing officers of their households, place great importance on being efficient with both their time and their family’s budget, which is exactly why Walmart ranked so highly.”

The study provided some context for why the top brands were so popular.

#3 Costco

“Underlying women’s love for Costco is what shopping anthropologists call ‘The thrill of the find.’ There is no feeling quite like saving big on a new espresso machine, a 20-pack of Kobe beef burgers and a new Xbox for the kids. In fact, the knowledge that you are saving money on the purchase at a place like Costco actually makes spending money feel good, by releasing a flood of endor­phins.”

#4 Facebook

“Women relished being able to easily stay connected with a much-broader friend circle than they otherwise would (the average woman has more than 250 Facebook friends). And importantly, women like how Facebook fits into their lives as a new free-time activity.”

#5 Apple

“Apple represents so many things that women value: style, tech, an inherent cool factor—and for moms, a shared technology with their kids. Add to that the fact that Apple delivers impeccable customer service, which research proves is far more important to women than men, and it’s easy to see why women love the brand.”

#6 Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix

“Canadians love loyalty programs and the Optimum program is certainly making plenty of Canadian women loyal to Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix.”

#7 Starbucks

“Starbucks hits the top 10 list for Canadian women by delivering far more than just coffee. Said one respondent, ‘Starbucks is an immersive and indulgent experience as soon as you step inside via sights, smells and sounds.’”

#8 Google

“Google ranks high on the most-loved scale for women across the entire age spectrum, as women aged 18-34 and 35-64 value Google’s role in ‘connecting me to the world.’”


“IKEA is a playground for women ‘delivering affordable, stylish living and unleashing the designer inside me… all on a budget’ gushed one respondent.”

#10 Dove

“Cited far more often than the product itself, women’s love for the brand stems from their admiration of Dove’s global campaign for ‘Real Beauty.’”

This article was first published in Marketing Magazine

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