Toronto Eaton Centre, Holiday 2012 [Image Source]
By Adam Ramsay

In what may come as a surprise to many, a new survey of 4,013 people by Angus Reid Global has determined that less Canadians will complete the bulk of their holiday shopping online this year, when compared to our neighbours in the United States and friends across the pond in the UK. While more than 20% of Brits and 14% of Americans claim that they will do most, if not all of their purchasing in e-stores rather than bricks-and-mortar locations, only 6% of Canucks vow to do the same.

The poll doesn’t shed much light on why Canadians are more hesitant to shop online compared to our counterparts, or rather, if there is still simply a bigger desire in this country to cross items off of lists using the more traditional outlets of retail malls and shopping centres. There is also little evidence that Canadians will ‘showroom’ this year - browse in store and then purchase online - or vice versa. 

One interesting piece from the survey noted that almost one in three shoppers in this country only buy from physical stores. Mark Startup, who is the vice-president of the B.C. office with the Retail Council of Canada, says the growing perception that people are staying away from physical locations isn’t accurate. “There’s a lot of people predicting the end of bricks-and-mortar shopping,” he said. “But when you look at the stats, and you segment them by commodities and so forth, you begin to see a different picture.”

While Canadians may be among the nations that will do the least amount of online buying this Christmas, they will lead in the category of credit card use for the purchases they do make. In fact, Canadian respondents claimed that almost half (41%) of all their Christmas gifts will be paid for with plastic. That number is compared to only 30% in the US and less than 22% in in the UK.

Many of Canada’s largest shopping malls, retail centres and communities in general are continuing to see a rise in new square footage and commercial development which will continue into 2014, and will only help some of the biggest retailers in this nation to not only maintain, but also grow sales from their physical locations. How that will affect e-commerce growth in this nation remains very closely watched.

[Source: Angus Reid Global]