Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

key2thecup

The ridiculous US - Canada consumer goods price difference investigated

92 posts in this topic

'Country pricing' a cause of Canada-U.S. price gaps

Manufacturers can't justify the major markups for Canadians, expert says

li-countrypricing-gm1e8c80k.jpg

Manufacturers claim that Canadian prices are higher due to labour and transportation costs, tariffs, the smaller Canadian market and other issues. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

Canadians are paying far more than Americans for the same products because of a systemic and unjustifiable markup scheme by many manufacturers, a retail expert says.

A Marketplace report on Canada-U.S. price gaps found Canadians paying higher prices — more than double in some cases — for the same retail goods because of an industry phenomenon called "country pricing."

"Multi-national brands, they have two different price lists … (one) for retailers in Canada, and (one) for retailers in the United States," says Diane Brisebois, president of the Retail Council of Canada. "And I can guarantee you that the price lists for retailers in Canada [have] prices that are between 10 to 50 per cent higher than the prices in the United States."

In some cases, the final sale price is much more.

Marketplace's investigation found a bottle of Bayer Aspirin, which costs $5.96 at a U.S. Wal-Mart sells for $13.86 at a Canadian one, a 132 per cent difference.

Prices are local, and on the day of the investigation, the Canadian dollar was trading at 99.3 cents US.

The Senate finance committee's Wednesday report on the price gap contained other pronounced examples. Automobile tires cost 32 per cent more in Canada, and a bottle of ibuprofen cost 70 per cent more than the U.S. price.

Edmonton resident Christine Maligec was shocked to find the playpen she bought from Toys "R" Us cost $129.99 in the U.S., but jumped to $249.99 in Canada.

"I can understand paying a little bit more, but nearly twice as much?" she said. "And our dollar is nearly at par — what's going on with that?"

Explanations 'a bloody lie'

Manufacturers claim that Canadian prices are higher due to labour and transportation costs, tariffs, the smaller Canadian market and other issues.

Bayer responded to Marketplace's story with an email pointing to similar factors causing higher prices in Canada.

"These dynamics are influenced by a variety of factors such as local economic conditions, cost of goods, differences in product formulation and local regulatory packaging and distribution costs," it read in part. " A direct comparison of Canadian and U.S. prices is not appropriate."

Brisebois says those issues should only cause slight price increases, but such high double- and triple-digit markups are indefensible.

"I don't care what the manufacturer says," she told Marketplace host Tom Harrington, "You cannot justify 30 per cent, 50 per cent, 100 per cent more in Canada than in the United States. It may cost a bit more to do business in one country versus another, but we're talking about five to 10 per cent.

"I don't believe in that crap," she added. "I think it's a bloody lie, and I think retailers are saying enough is enough."

It's difficult for many retailers to fight back effectively, because the manufacturers can essentially hold them hostage.

"We have small retailers who have been complaining to their manufacturers that they're charging them too much in Canada," Brisebois said. "And the manufacturers are saying, 'You don't like my price, then don't carry my line.' They're threatening retailers."

In her testimony to the Senate committee, Brisebois elaborated on the issue.

"If I am a sporting goods retailer in this country, and I do not carry Reebok or Nike, chances are that I will not have too much retail traffic in my store," she said. "That explains why they also have the ability to tell a Canadian retailer … how much they will sell a product for if the retailer wants it in their store."

The markups hurt retailers too, since many shoppers are choosing to take their business across the border.

A May 2012 report from Bank of Montreal estimated that cross-border shopping is costing the Canadian economy approximately $20 billion per year, and Brisebois says the government is losing another $8 billion to $10 billion in tax revenue.

It's not just foreign manufacturers exploiting Canadians. Brisebois says even Canadian manufacturers are guilty of country pricing.

"We have Canadian manufacturers who are selling to Canadian retailers at a higher price than they are to U.S. retailers," she explained. "And the product is made here. It doesn't make sense."

Accustomed to overcharging

One reason that Canadians pay so much more is simply that they're accustomed to it.

"[Manufacturers] say… the market can bear it," Brisebois said. "[Canadians] had more money or they were used to paying a higher price."

Brisebois says that attitude springs from times when the Canadian dollar was typically closer to 60 cents US and cross-border shopping was less popular. Prices were naturally higher in Canada, but Canadians came to expect those prices, so they never pushed back even as the dollar neared parity.

During the recent Senate probe, multiple witnesses — including Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney — said the problem of "charging what the market will bear" is due to a lack of competition.

The Senate report concluded that "increasing competition in Canada is crucial to eliminating price discrepancies between the two countries."

The report also calls for a "comprehensive review of Canadian tariffs," and possible increases on duty-free shipping limits.

Brisebois applauded the Senate findings and hopes that changes are coming.

"The government must now act in its upcoming budget to implement many of the recommendations of this report and be a part of the solution," she said.

"Retailers continue to do their job in delivering value to consumers. It is now time for our government to assist in leveling the playing field for our businesses in Canada."

http://www.cbc.ca/ne...ry-pricing.html

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree but please choose items that aren't taxed high or are part of protectionism. At least there is a reason unlike a car or computer being more expensive.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good articles, good post key2thecup. I agree with hudson bay rules regarding examples, liquor is heavily taxed and therfore is quite easily explained. I do find it sickening that most items are priced that much higher in Canada. Think about how much more we could be consuming!

Joking aside, I DO prefer to buy Canadian products that cost slightly more than imported products. That isn't really the issue here though, it is imported product price gouging.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Businesses charge more if they can get away with? No way! :shock:

Glad the news is here to tell us these things.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hoping that the price of new cars goes down to US levels up here then!! :D

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Investigate all you want. It won't change a thing.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Investigate all you want. It won't change a thing.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel bad but for the past year or so my family has done probably 85% of our shopping in Blaine. We go down to Trader Joes and Fred Meyer because they have so much variety in their groceries, their prices are cheaper, and they have a lot of great organic stuff.

And I've also gotten some great clothes down in the States. I actually bought a pair of indoor tennis shoes from SportChek here in Van for $90. Went down to the States and found a better pair (was an actual tennis brand) for $40. And for major wardrobe shopping we go down to the outlets.

I'd much rather fuel our local economy but when the prices and selection are better, what else is a consumer to do?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I say it will, and we're already seeing this trend - Canadians will endure the 1-hr long wait at Peace Arch/PacX to do their shopping in Bellingham and Burlington.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel bad but for the past year or so my family has done probably 85% of our shopping in Blaine. We go down to Trader Joes and Fred Meyer because they have so much variety in their groceries, their prices are cheaper, and they have a lot of great organic stuff.

And I've also gotten some great clothes down in the States. I actually bought a pair of indoor tennis shoes from SportChek here in Van for $90. Went down to the States and found a better pair (was an actual tennis brand) for $40. And for major wardrobe shopping we go down to the outlets.

I'd much rather fuel our local economy but when the prices and selection are better, what else is a consumer to do?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No need to feel bad. When we are paying one of the highest taxes plus higher markups on basically everything, people will eventually find ways to save money and survive in this city. Everything here is becoming expensive day by day.

Yes good point. We contribute our fair share here in Canada, especially those of us who live in Greater Vancouver.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can't even begin to tell you how much Americans living in Bellingham and even Mt. Vernon and Burlington hate Canadians.

They don't look at us as a positive to their economy until told/reminded.

Trust me on this, I used to live there. Still have plenty of family there. Even ex Canadians and ppl married to Canadians make fun of us.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The price that has to be paid for living in a wonderful Country :wub:

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel bad but for the past year or so my family has done probably 85% of our shopping in Blaine....

I'd much rather fuel our local economy but when the prices and selection are better, what else is a consumer to do?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.