Canadians to Overwhelmingly Shift to Online Holiday Shopping: Survey

This holiday shopping season no doubt will be unlike any other retailers have ever experienced and more shoppers are expected to conduct their activities online due to the on-going COVID-19 crisis.

The 2020 Holiday Survey confirms the trend in e-commerce which has received a boost since mid-March when the retail industry was first rocked by the pandemic amid store closures as shoppers who never shopped online before then turned in this direction.


When people were asked if they will be shopping more online or in-person this holiday season due to COVID, 93.55 percent answered online and 6.45 percent answered in-person.

Kate Musgrove, Director of, said the most obvious result from the comprehensive survey was the percentage of people planning to do their shopping online.

“I think there are a lot of factors that we aren’t really sure of yet. I think we’ll certainly see it continue into 2021. I don’t know if we’ll see it continue into the holiday season for 2021 — a full year from now,” she said. “But certainly the beginning of the year we’ll continue to see people shopping online, taking advantage of the new features that some stores have rolled out like curbside pickup, click and collect style thing where they don’t have to enter the store and employees bringing the product to their car. It’s paid online.

“It’s that sort of hybrid that people have found really helpful in the past couple of months.”

When asked where people will do the majority of their shopping, 62.15 percent said online, 30.14 percent said online and in-person and 7.17 percent said in-person.

“It didn’t really surprise me. Everything considered anecdotally I know people like my mother-in-law who loves shopping in-store and has always done her holiday shopping in-store has now told me she’s now shopping online. These are the websites She has accounts at that she can shop on and this is where she’ll be getting our holiday presents,” said Musgrove. “She’s just not willing to gamble waiting to see if she’s able to shop in-store like normal. She doesn’t want to wait and see how the pandemic goes, how COVID numbers develop. She wants to do everything online and this is the first time in her adult life that she’s taken that approach.”

It’s an approach that will become increasingly more popular in the coming weeks and months.

When asked what major event do they plan on making their most holiday shopping purchases, 58.78 percent replied Black Friday with 9.47 percent on Cyber Monday and 12.43 percent on Boxing Day.

“People have appreciated having a shopping holiday that takes place before Christmas and sometimes before Hanukkah sometimes not depending on how the year falls and I think retailers have responded to consumer interest by saying let’s push out the deals, let’s push out some bargains, let’s stretch out the holiday shopping experience,” said Musgrove.

“There isn’t a retailer in Canada these days who is not taking advantage of Black Friday and that wasn’t true five years ago for sure.”

When asked when they plan on conducting their holiday shopping, 42.92 percent said November, 12.89 percent said October, and 10.62 percent said December.

The categories of retail that most people are interested in buying are electronics 89.91 percent, clothing 59.55 percent, and home goods/appliances 41.56 per cent.

When asked if they plan to spend more this year than last year, 16.58 percent of people said yes, 40.60 percent said no, and 42.83 percent said the same.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He now works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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