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Canadian Holiday Shopping Data: Who, What, Where, Why and How ©

Everyone is wondering if Canadians will be doing more of their holiday shopping online this year, along with what they’ll be buying, where they’ll be buying it, and how they’ll be doing so in 2015. Statistically, it depends on who you ask. To provide a broader picture of this year’s predictions for those who sell online, we’re including statistics from several sources in this article.

An impressive overall growth rate of online retail in Canada has already been accepted as inevitable by most experts. Forester Research, for example, predicts online sales will grow significantly faster than the Canadian retail market overall. They forecast a compounded annual growth rate of 12.3% in the next five years for eCommerce, by comparison to a 2.6% growth rate for retail in general. The Vancouver Sun newspaper reports the forecast for total 2015 Canadian online sales is $23.5 to $29+ billion, with the average spent growing by 50% between 2014 and 2019. The anticipated growth has motivated many businesses to create and expand their online presence here, such as Holt Renfrew’s recent online launch.

New statistics from FedEx Canada found:

Predicted Spending for the 2015 Holiday Season in Canada

A SAS survey showed that 19% of Canadians plan to spend less on their 2015 holiday shopping than they did in 2014. However, an Ernst & Young survey says that will be offset by the promise of tax cuts, increased child tax credit, lower gas prices, and employment growth. eCommerce will see an increase of 4% as Canadians go online to find that special gift, and millennials will be driving that sleigh. Conversely, an eBates Canada survey predicts 79% of Canadian consumers will spend the same or more for gifts in 2015.

This is exciting news for everyone from the individual seller to the largest online retail stores. Even if Canadians do intend to tighten their budget, that will mean even more people will be inclined to shop in Canada to compensate for the low loonie. In fact, 31% of Canadians surveyed told Accenture that the low Canadian dollar will keep them on this side of the border.  A UPS Leger survey found that the number of Canadians who will holiday shop in the US as dropped 22% since 2014, with 56% citing the low exchange rate as the reason. Combine that with more people shopping online (85% of Canadians shop online, according to UPS), and everyone looking for Internet sales will be ending the year with a festive bang.

SAS statistics predict:

eBates Canada predictions are much higher:

Accenture’s 2015 Canadian holiday survey indicates:

“In the past, we’ve seen Canadian consumers flock across the border to take advantage of Black Friday deals, but this year 84% are unlikely to cross-border shop,” said Craig Calvert, director of customer solutions, UPS Canada. “The market is changing and Canadian retailers have an opportunity to take advantage of consumer’s preferences to shop local by offering aggressive Black Friday deals to keep and grow their market share in Canada. As Black Friday continues to gain momentum north of the border, retailers will be forced to participate in the price slashing to meet consumer expectations, especially among Millennials who are most likely to shop south of the border.”

Provincial Fluctuations Could Make Shipping a Key Factor in Profits

One of the biggest benefits of offering eCommerce options is that the entire country (and beyond) becomes your market. You won’t have to worry as much about local economic issues, such as the fall of oil prices in Alberta.

E&Y shares the following provincial insights:

Who and What will Canadian Shoppers be Spending on?

According to SAS:

According to eBates data:

According to Leger 2015 Canadian holiday statistics:

Where will Canadians be Shopping Online in 2015?

How Will Canadians be Shopping Online in 2015?

Accenture’s 2015 Holiday Shopping Survey revealed that 70% of Canadian consumers are interested in downloading retailer app’s to check their loyalty program (35%), find items in the store (31%) and to receive personalized offers or coupons (29%).

Multi-Channel and Engagement Should be Your Focus in 2015

While Canadian holiday shopping statistics can vary widely on key points, every expert agrees that mobile and multi-channel will be more important than ever this year.

“The way Canadians think about shopping for the holidays is changing, and retailers must offer a more enhanced mobile browsing and shopping experience to drive sales at the busiest time of year,” said Robin Sahota, Managing Director at Retail at Accenture.

“While Canadians may have a little more money in their pockets, retailers must realize that ways to engage consumers are multiplying rapidly,” explains Daniel Baer, a National Retail and Consumer Products Industry Leader. “To thrive in this omni-channel environment, retailers must be quick and agile to deliver the integrated experience consumers want. Millennials are also social-media savvy and digitally connected, meaning the smartphone and tablet will be key interactive tools for retailers.”

While mobile should be a necessary part of your holiday sales strategy in Canada, it’s only part of a bigger picture.

Mobile should be “part of a holistic digital strategy to drive continuous engagement throughout the season and into next year in stores, online, on social media, etc,” Andrew Wong, a partner with Kurt Salmon Digital, told Retail Dive. “A great example is the success some retailers have had launching coupon and gift and wish list mobile capabilities for the holidays, which ultimately continue to drive long-term engagement and purchasing.”

Don’t Neglect the Online Shopping Experience

Canadian online shoppers told UPS that the following factors are important to them:

A successful online business involves more than adding a shopping cart these days, but you don’t have to tackle it all at once. A multi-stage launch that includes eCommerce, content, and social media is a feasible start. Knit that together with multi-channel options and offline strategies as efficiently as possible. Once everything is in place, you can rocket-launch online sales by starting an affiliate program through a network (Share-A-Sale and AvantLink Canada are popular affiliate networks among Canadian businesses). You’ll quickly build an online sales force and you’ll only pay when they send you a sale. After that, a perpetually evolving business strategy is essential to the success of your online business, because it operates within an environment that is in a constant state of evolution.

Do you need some help?

How to Use Content Marketing to Skyrocket Holiday Sales
2015 Canadian Social Media Usage Statistics
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Test eCommerce Waters with Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)
10 Hot Product Niches to Sell or Drop Ship Online in Canada
Reaching Canadian Consumers Through Niche Bloggers
2016 Holiday Season – Canadian Online Shopping Forecast Data

How has your digital strategy evolved for 2015? Please share your experience or questions in the comments below.

Sources:
SAS Canada: New SAS data shows Canadians plan to spend less this holiday season
Ipsos Canadian Inter@ctive Trends Report
Earnst & Young
Forester Research
eBates Canada
Leger/Canadian Prepaid Providers Organization: What Canadians Really Want: 2015 Holiday Gift Trends
FedEx Canada Online Shopping Intentions Survey
Accenture 2015 Holiday Shopping Survey
UPS Leger Survey

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