Marketing in the Land of Hudson Bay: Indian Consumers and the Hudson's Bay Company, 1670–1770

The Hudson's Bay Company traded European goods for furs that were hunted, trapped, and brought down to the Bayside posts by Native Americans. The process of exchange was deceptively simple: furs for goods. Yet behind this simple process lies a series of decisions on the part of the company about which goods to provide, what levels of quality to provide, and what price to set. We examine the marketing strategies used by the Hudson's Bay Company and the role played by Native traders. We find that Native Americans were demanding consumers, concerned not only with the quantity of goods they received but also with their quality and variety. In a world where neither side could coerce the other, Natives' preferences were paramount.