Residential Lighting is boldly going where no industry publication has gone before: to Canada. Oh, sure, we’ve been delivering our magazine there all along to our audited circulation. But while many of the challenges and opportunities Canadian retailers face are the same as their U.S. counterparts, there are too many differences to ignore, and it’s time our coverage caught up with that reality.
You’ll find several of these topics addressed on the following pages, helping everyone better understand this significant and often underserved segment of the lighting market.
With a population of approximately 35 million and a median household income of about US$69,000 (compared to $53,000 in the United States), the opportunity to do business in Canada is great. Although there are subtle nuances that must be navigated, more and more U.S. manufacturers are adopting policies that make doing business with Canadian retailers easier and more efficient.
“There’s such a good population and a good potential for business in Canada for a lot of companies, with a customer base that is really the same as it is here in the U.S.,” says Brian Creeley, Director of Sales at Bulbrite. “To not capitalize on that because of stubbornness or unwillingness to bend seems foolish in this economy. I think that the companies that adopt more of a partnership mentality will go much, much farther, particularly in Canada.”
A few U.S. manufacturers cater to the specific needs of Canadian retailers — such as waiving duty, freight and brokerage fees — and see this as a worthwhile investment.
“Feiss recognized the importance of the Canadian market many years ago and started there by developing strong partnerships with key retailers and lighting industry leaders in each province,” says Greg Vandia, Vice President of Sales for Feiss-Monte Carlo and Sea Gull Lighting. “Our partners there have been huge Feiss brand supporters and we’re so appreciative of their continued loyalty and business.”
Even beyond business, Canada plays a part in the success of all aspects of the industry, like being a driving force in organizations like the American Lighting Assn. (ALA).
“Canadian members are very important to ALA and hold leadership positions, including our ALA Board of Governors,” says Eric Jacobson, ALA Executive Vice President. “We also work closely with organizations such as CSA group and NRCan that are addressing Canadian regulatory standards, code development and legislation involving residential lighting, ceiling fans and controls.”
Here, we shine a light (pun intended) on Canada from a variety of angles, hoping that our industry learns as much as we have about this vital trade partner. We promise this won’t be our last trip north of the border, so we welcome your feedback on this journey and future routes to explore.
We have a load of content on Canada to share:
For a fun chart of American/Canadian lighting synonyms, click here.
For a Canadian consumer profile chart, click here.
For a list of 2014 Statutory Holidays, click here.
For a comparison of the cost difference for a Canadian retailer to import/sell the same shipment of lights as an American retailer, click here.
For a map of Canadian weather, click here.
For housing market highlights, click here.
For an explanation of Canadian bulb legislation, click here.
For a summary of style preferences in Canada, click here.
To learn about light recycling programs, click here.
For a pro/con discussion of taking your retail store online, click here.