Ottawa Retail Market Report
Strong Demographics Result in Robust Consumer
Demand, but Not Without Limitations
Ottawa's unique labour force supports robust spending. Retail demand quickly bounced back from the pandemic lows recorded in the second quarter of 2021, and furthered its recovery in the first half of 2022. Compared to Toronto, the rebound was softer, likely due to the less severe decline in retail sales back in 2020. This relative resilience in part stems from Ottawa's distinctive labour force, as over 40 per cent of the metro's employment is in the public and tech sectors, which provided greater job security during the global health crisis. The market also has the highest per capita income among all major metros in Canada, with its median per capita income 22 and 29 per cent higher than Montreal and Toronto, respectively, as of 2020. Additionally, Ottawa enjoys both foreign and domestic in-migration with the highest population growth rate of the major metros, which creates a strong consumer base. These demographic advantages helped attract an influx of over $900 million in retail real estate investment between July 2021 and June 2022.