Economy has Canadians pausing vehicle purchases

by | Jul 2, 2024 | 0 comments

Rising costs of living are significantly impacting Canadians’ perceptions of what they can afford, with more than one-in-five delaying a vehicle purchase, according to a recent survey.

The Léger survey, commissioned by Toyota Canada, reports that there are key shifts in consumer behaviour and preferences in the automotive market.

Delayed purchases, a phenomenon that is already playing out across the country as consumers first grappled with a limited supply of new vehicles during the pandemic and higher than normal prices for used vehicles, then as access improved, were faced inflationary pressures on the household budgets. Rising finance rates also played a roll in putting off replacing current vehicles.

The report also finds pressure on automakers to provide more value through the ownership cycle, though it was not clear how that will play out.

Still, some fifty-six percent (56%) of Canadians are addressing affordability concerns by either cancelling or delaying at least one major purchase, with transportation figuring strongly in this mix.

The most affected areas include travel (34%), personal vehicles (21%), and home renovations (20%). 

Alberta (66%), Manitoba and Saskatchewan (61%), and British Columbia (58%), report the highest percentages of delayed purchases.

Age is a factor in delayed or cancelled purchases:

  • Ages 18-34: 63% of respondents reported delayed or cancelled purchases.
  • Ages 35-54: 62% of respondents reported delayed or cancelled purchases.
  • Age 55+: 46% of respondents reported delayed or cancelled purchases.

The types of purchases delayed or cancelled also vary by age group:

  • Ages 18-34: Top categories include travel (40%), personal vehicles (22%), and home ownership (20%).
  • Ages 35-54: Top categories include travel (38%), home renovations (28%), and personal vehicles (26%).
  • Age 55+: 53% reported that they have not delayed or cancelled any purchases.

Majority of Canadians changing approach to vehicle ownership

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Canadians believe it is less financially achievable to own a vehicle today compared to their parents’ generation, with over two thirds of British Columbians feeling the most pressure.

Due to affordability concerns, 66% of respondents reported changing their approach to vehicle ownership in the past year.

Specifically, they are:

  • Delaying the purchase of a new vehicle (31%)
  • Opting for a used vehicle instead of purchasing new (27%)
  • Among younger drivers aged 18-34, this figure rises to 31%, compared to 23% for those aged 55 and older.

Léger conducted an online survey with a representative sample of 1,536 Canadian residents. Respondents were randomly selected using Léger’s panel and was completed between June 14-17, 2024. 


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