By Kendra Hamilton
Canadians are planning to avoid mall madness this holiday season by getting their gifts from the comfort of their couch.
A poll of 1,000 online Canadian consumers conducted by Solutions Research Group in August, showed 67 per cent of Canadian adults plan on buying at least some of their holiday gifts online this year. One-in-five of those shoppers said they will buy more online this year in comparison to last.
David Soberman, a marketing professor at the University of Toronto, said one of the main reasons more and more consumers are shopping online is because it is convenient, especially during the hectic holidays in an already crowded city.
“Traffic congestion in Toronto is getting worse and worse. It’s a pretty big incentive to do online shopping,” he said. “You don’t have to get up and actually go to the mall.”
Also, over time, people have become more comfortable with the idea of online shopping and entering their credit card information into a computer, said Soberman.
“If they do it once and nothing bad happens they become more willing to do it again and again,” he said. Soberman also said that as people become more comfortable online shopping they will expand the number of purchases they make and order a wider variety of goods.
“People who used to just order books and CDs online now are also ordering dietary supplements, electronics, clothing, furniture, etc. etc.,” he said. Moreover, the perceived safety of online is not seen as being much different than that of in-store, said Soberman. Target and Home Depot both recently experienced security breaches at an in-store level and so people are not as convinced that shopping at a brick-and-mortar establishment is a less risky option, he said.
Two-in-three Canadian adults who are online have purchased something online in the last month, up from eight per cent from last year at this time, the online poll showed.
The poll also indicated that mobile devices are playing an increasing role in online shopping, especially among younger consumers.
Soberman said the market for e-commerce in Canada is likely to continue growing because it is convenient, comfortable, and safe.
In the future he said it is likely to become more integrated with storefronts so people will be able to order online and pick up or return in the store.
“Right now websites are quite separate from brick-and-mortar establishments,” he said. “With an improved information system we will see a more seamless connection between the two.” Below are some of the statistics outlined in the poll.
The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error as they are not a random sample and therefore are not necessarily representative of the whole population.
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