Consumer behaviour

This page is designed by Olivier Charbonneau, Senior Librarian for the Marketing department of JMSB, to support learning and classroom activities of students enrolled in MARK 305 Consumer Behaviour.

See also: Business communication, for a half hour video on searching for business information.

Quick access: remember to access the Library’s (1) Business Research Portal for the recommended business sources; use the (2) Ask-A-Librarian help desk; and the (3) citing business sources in APA format. In addition, you can access the Library’s guide on how to create an annotated bibliography.

What is a consumer trend?

Powers, D. (2019). On trend : the business of forecasting the future. University of Illinois Press. Retrieved 2023, from

Niosi, A. (2021). Introduction to Consumer Behaviour. BC Campus. Retrieved 2023, from

Many people have a lot to say about consumer trends. What should you believe? What is true? Many students have difficulty differentiating conjecture, opinion, beliefs and facts. Some of these are rooted in our own biases, experiences or expectations. One thing is certain: you are called upon to think critically about the claims you are making. Thinking critically, in this case, means providing credible evidence about the claims you are making.

Credibility can be expressed in a variety of factors. Who is behind the claim? How have they arrived to their conclusion? What data or evidence did they analyse to make the claim? Do they describe their method, the limits of their analysis? Was it reviewed by experts? Do they stand to benefit from you believing their claim? Do you really want to base your project on some shoddy source gleaned from an underwhelming search on Google?

“If you are only using Google for this project, you will fail in achieving its learning objectives. “

Source: Senior Librarian Olivier Charbonneau will never say it enough

To succeed in this project, you must eliminate opinions from facts and provide evidence from credible sources to support your claims about consumers. Here are some simple strategies to avoid making baseless claims from shoddy evidence.

Tip #1: Start by reading basic market & industry research reports

To succeed in this project, you are expected to access and read market and industry research reports from the Library’s collection of databases BEFORE identifying the consumer trend for your project. Concordia University Library provides complementary (free!) access to reports used by professionals in your field. Librarians at Concordia evaluate these databases and select the one providing the best evidence. These These sources are listed on the Library’s Business Research Portal but all students in this course are expected to use the following databases:

PassPort by Euromonitor

Passport from Euromonitor is a professional tool paid by the library and provides reports worldwide consumer markets, such as Megatrends, Consumer lifestyles Canada as well as sectorial reports and data (from Search> Search Full Tree). The library website provides for a tutorial on using Passport by Euromonitor.


IBISWorld provides over 1000 industry reports for business in Canada, the USA, China and global markets. Use these reports for insight on industries & external environment

Tip #2: Discuss sources with your group to identify salient claims and evidence they contain

As a group, discuss the preliminary research done so far. What did the basic sources tell you? Did they contradict or confirm what you expected? What are the salient companies (major players or brands), industries or consumer trends discovered so far?

“At this point, you have minimal information. You need to go much deeper in your research to succeed.”

Source: true to his nature, Senior Librarian Olivier Charbonneau tells it like it is.

Tip #3: dig deeper in trade news and scholarly sources

If you think you can do this in Google, you are wrong. You will need to cite at least half-a-dozen trade news or scholarly articles in your paper to write a mediocre paper. Good papers have much more than the minimal threshold. Yes, this means using library databases to locate articles, read and discuss them in your group and select the most salient elements for your report. If you do not engage with this task, you shouldn’t complain about your grade. Forget Google for this step, use ProQuest instead.

Search for articles in ProQuest Business Databases:

Search for companies (name of major players, brands, etc.), industry name or consumer trend concept. For example:

Consum* behavio* AND (canad* or Quebec*) AND <company/brand/topic>

Filter Source type for:

  1. Trade journals: for industry news
  2. Scholarly journals: for credible research

Select & export citations in .RIS format to Zotero or create bibliography. You can also use Eureka (local newspapers in French) or Factiva (worldwide trade journals).

Tip #4: Use Vividata to support or double-check your claim(s) and evidence

Vividata (formerly PMB) is a database providing tables obtained from a yearly Canadian consumer survey. It contains psychographics & demographics based on a questionnaire. Create unique tables by combining variables, please watch the tutorial on the library website:

Tip #5: Dig through Statistic Canada’s Census and Data

To discover three essential data tools provided for free by Canada’s national statistics agency, please access this short post:

This post offers insight on using Statistics Canada’s website for market research, including 3 videos.

Try these different Data searches:
household spending quintiles / “retail trade sales” / “labour force survey”…

Use the Census’ Data Products > Data Tables to get market size by demographic variables. If you don’t understand what that means, please Get familiar with Statistics Canada!

Parting thoughts

You may have to loop through the tips provided above a few times if you discover new evidence. Creatively combine data and insight from multiple sources to support your claims. Use only the most credible and authentic sources. Go to the bottom of things: be weary of superficial & fallacious sources.

Remember, a successful project will have you answer clearly and concicely the following questions:

  • Describe in your own words the consumer trend(s) you will discuss in your project: Canadian consumers are
  • What is(are) the source(s) of this(these) trend(s)? According to X, Canadian consumers are…
  • What evidence do you bring forward to support your claim(s)?

=> Get the “worksheet” for your final project <=

Ce contenu a été mis à jour le 2023-10-05 à 1:36 pm.