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Many polled Canadians aren’t researching options before buying financial products: LowestRates.ca survey


August 16, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter


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While Canadians may head online to compare prices on flights or when booking a hotel, most aren’t researching their options before buying financial products, according to a new survey from comparison site LowestRates.ca.

The online survey, conducted last month by market research company Ipsos on behalf of LowestRates.ca, used a sample of 2,002 Canadians aged 18+. The poll – which measured buying habits related to car insurance, mortgages and applying for new credit cards – is accurate to within ±2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20 had all Canadian adults been polled.

The research found that 47% of those polled reported that they “do a lot of research” before buying car insurance, compared to 45% who do a lot of research before getting a credit card and 60% for mortgages.

“We found that the majority of Canadians do alarmingly little research when buying financial products – and it’s cost them thousands per year,” the survey said.

By comparison, 60% of Canadians use comparison websites to book their flights and 63% use them to book their hotels, LowestRates.ca said in a press release issued on Tuesday. When it came to Millenials (people aged between 18 and 34, according to the study), those numbers rose to 72% and 67%, respectively.

“The massive gulf between Canadians who compare travel options and financial products is disappointing,” LowestRates.ca CEO and co-founder John Thouin said in the release. “Because the latter is where you save real money.”

Booking the cheapest flight will save consumers a “couple of hundred dollars,” while when buying a financial product, “you’re looking at something that is going to continue to cost you fees and interest for many years,” the release said. “Saving money on mortgages and car insurance really add up over time. But when it comes to doing research, most Canadians consult one source — often their bank — and take what they’re given.”

There is also a generational gap. Only 36% of Baby Boomers (defined by J.D. Power as those born between 1946 and 1964) compare car insurance and credit cards and 27% compare mortgage rates. Millenials are the most likely to do a lot of research before buying a financial product – 52% compare car insurance options, versus 50% for credit card options and 48% for mortgage options.

By province or region, Albertans researched their options the most, the report noted. Forty-five per cent of Albertans reporting doing a lot of research when shopping for financial products, compared to 42% of Ontarians, 39% in Atlantic Canada, 38% in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, 35% in Quebec and 31% in British Columbia.