Canadians to do more stay-at-home summer entertaining

April 16, 2009
Written by CNW Group Ltd.
According to the recent Weber Canadian GrillWatch Survey Canadians are planning to stay close to home for their holidays and eat out less this year. Many of the answers to this year's survey could be good news for businesses that offer barbecue products and accessories, as well as for Canadian tourist attractions, grocery stores and home improvement centres.

The 20th annual survey, conducted in February 2009 by Toronto-based Leger Marketing on behalf of Weber-Stephen Products Co., probes the habits, knowledge and expertise of Canadian barbecuers. More than 1,000 consumers nation-wide, aged 19 and over, participated in the online survey.

Staycations versus Vacations

Mirroring a trend that began last year, Canadians reported that they intend to enjoy a "staycation", or home-based vacation, this year. Almost 40 per cent of those surveyed indicated they plan to take a summer staycation and/or a staycation plus one smaller traditional vacation. As an additional 31 per cent had yet to decide on vacation plans, the number who actually take a staycation in 2009 could be substantially higher.

Staycations were the favoured vacation option of respondents aged 35 to 45, those earning $75-$100K, and those from Quebec.

Key Reasons for Staycationing

The three main reasons given for taking a staycation this year: to save money (45%), to take part in the many interesting or fun things to do nearby (38%), and the high cost of gas (31%). In addition, 30 per cent of respondents claim they want to get home-based projects done during time off work. The high cost of airfares and the weak dollar are two additional reasons cited for not taking a vacation away from home.

Staycationers Plan to Grill More and Enjoy/Improve Outdoor Room

Of those choosing to stay close to home for their annual holiday this year, 36 per cent say they plan to use their outdoor grill more than in the past. As well, almost 45 per cent of staycationers intend to try new grilling recipes and/or new foods on the grill, and 36 per cent plan to host more barbecues than previously.

Twenty-three per cent (23%) of those planning stay-at-home vacations say they will purchase a new grill, update an existing grill or buy more grill accessories. In the Maritime provinces, one in five respondents planning a staycation this year intends to purchase a new outdoor grill.

Another group of home vacationers (36%) - mostly from Ontario and Western Canada - plan to spend time making improvements to a patio, deck, outdoor kitchen, courtyard or other outdoor room.

One in seven surveyed already has an outdoor room. Over half of this group (51%) plan to use the outdoor space as much as they did last year; two-thirds of respondents aged 35 to 45 say they plan to use their outdoor room more this year.

The two top reasons for using an outdoor room are to entertain guests and to take advantage of nice weather (18% and 16% of respondents, respectively). Ten per cent (10%) of those with outdoor rooms indicate they are spending more time at home and therefore using the area more frequently.

Additional BBQ Trends

Gas Burns Bright: Nine out of ten Canadians grill with gas; 83 per cent own a liquid propane barbecue, while 13 per cent use natural gas. Twelve per cent (12%) own a charcoal grill. Three-quarters of those surveyed own one grill (76%). If more than one grill is owned, most people prefer to use the gas version (80%).

Men Control the Tongs: As past surveys have confirmed, the primary grillers in Canadian households are men (58%). This is especially true in the Maritimes (60%). However, young Canadians aged 19-24 are most likely to say they don't do any grilling at all (48%).

It's all About the Meat: Steak is ranked both as the food item most often grilled and as the most favourite item, displacing hamburger in the "most popular" category for the first time. In second and third place for most often grilled items are hamburgers and chicken pieces. Second place for most popular is chicken pieces.

More Canadian GrillWatch Facts

-  Nine out of ten Canadians own full-size grills
-  The majority (68%) prefer grilling in the summer; 32 per cent report they grill year-round
-  Nine in ten surveyed say they fire up the grill at least once a week; regionally, Quebec and Ontario barbecuers are most likely to grill more than once a week
-  For the first time, Canada Day (July 1) was ranked as the most popular grilling occasion for Canadians (68% of those surveyed), beating birthdays (top-ranking occasion in 2007), Labour Day and Father's Day; Ontario grillers are also more likely to fire up the barbecue for August Civic Holiday and for Victoria Day than grillers in other regions.


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