Online Holiday Shopping the New Norm for Canadians

Amazon has replaced the Sears holiday catalogue for good.

A new report by Accenture found that 66 per cent of Canadians check Amazon before looking or buying elsewhere. Forty per cent polled said they turn to Google, while 23 per cent look on eBay.

“This year, Canadians are putting a high premium on convenience and digital when it comes to getting their holiday shopping done,” said Robin Sahota, managing director of Accenture’s retail practice in Canada.

At 47 per cent, less than half of respondents said they will do the majority of their shopping in-store, a drop of 11 per cent from 2016. This year, 40 per cent said most of it will be done online.

The growing dependency on online retailers for holiday shopping also means that deep-discount days aren’t as appealing to Canadians, Accenture found.

Black Friday-type deals are offered on e-commerce channels year-round, like Amazon Prime Day in July.

Sixty-four per cent of Canadians told Accenture they are likely to shop on Boxing Day this year, down six per cent from last year. The disinterest in the traditional deal days has challenged retailers to adapt their sales strategy to keep pace with online channels.

“Canadians are also moving toward being ‘shopped and wrapped’ earlier than ever before, which means retailers must seize the opportunity to innovate and by offering a distinctive experience, lay the foundation for more profitable, year-round relationships,” Sahota added

Social channels like YouTube are being leveraged to inform customers on what to buy, with 46 per cent of Canadians using the video platform to help them make shopping decisions. Facebook slides in second at 42 per cent.

Two-thirds of Canadians also reported they would use or are already using personal assistants like Google Home and Amazon Alexa to make holiday purchases. Despite embracing intelligent devices, Canadians aren’t on board with all shopping technology.

More than a third of respondents said they wouldn’t use the flying craft to delivery their holiday purchases, and nearly a third don’t understand what drone delivery is.