Canadians Online: Statistics to Guide Your Multi-Channel Strategy

The success of multi-channel retail revolves around one thing: the customer. The customer experience has always been an important part of retail success, it has only evolved to include today’s technology. The Internet and eCommerce, along with mobile devices, have caused an accelerated evolution of customer expectations, from transparency to personalization. Meeting the multi-channel demands of today’s consumers can be overwhelming for Canadian businesses, but it has become critical to their success.

To engage today’s connected customers, we have to understand their online behaviour and overall shopping preferences. To that end, PWC has published the Total Retail Report 2016: Canadian Insights, focused on personalizing the customer experience.

Online Shopping Insights

  • 68% of Canadians have been shopping online for more than three years.
  • 42% of Canadian Millennials buy something online every month.
  • 46% of Canadian Millennials say the top reason they shop online is for convenience.
  • 37% of Canadian consumers want to check stock at other stores or online.
  • 81% say having a prepaid return shipping label included with their purchase was the most important option for returning items.

What are Canadian Shoppers Buying Online?

  • 52% purchase books, movies, games or music.
  • 28% order computers and other electronics.
  • 23% shop online for clothing and footwear.

Cross-Border Shopping Online

  • 63% of Canadian Millennials will look for deals online from another country over the next 12 months.
  • 57% will buy clothing or footwear.
  • 44% will purchase books, movies, games or music.

Pre-purchase Research

Buying and researching can be two entirely different things when it comes to online shopping. Many Canadians research the Internet before purchasing, whether the final purchase is made online or offline.

  • 66% research computers and other electronics.
  • 63% research books, movies, games or music.
  • 53% research household appliances.

Canadian use of Social Media in the Buying Process

  • 40% of Canadians said that social media reviews and feedback influences their shopping behaviour.
  • 84% of young adults have their online purchases influenced by social media.
  • 55% of young adults (age 18-24) are influenced by social media reviews.
  • 51% of Canadian Millennials (ages 18-34) have their shopping behaviour influenced by social media reviews.
  • Canadian Millennials also have their shopping behaviour influenced by social media promotional offers (51%) and advertising (26%).
  • 40% of this country’s Millennials agree that interacting with their favourite brands on social media increases their perceived value and respect for them.

It’s Only a Matter of Time

Young adults provide a window into the future of mobile shopping.  As they age into tech-savvy seniors, we will fully enter the age of omni-channel shopping in Canada.

Adults age 18-24 use their mobile devices to:

  • Access store coupons and promotional codes (50%)
  • Price comparison (42%)
  • Product research (39%)
  • Check reviews (33%)
  • Check their loyalty or rewards (31%)
  • Pay for purchases (19%)

Further Reading:

Total Retail Report 2016: Canadian Insights
Study: Omni-Channel is the Key to Success in Retail Today
Canadian Retailers Facing Omnichannel Challenges (Statistics & Slides)
Canadian Grocery Shoppers Hungry for Omni-Channel Savings and Convenience (Statistics)
Canadian Omni-Channel Panel Shares Insights
The Multichannel Retail Handbook 2016 Edition – Volume 1: Planning and Implementation: A Guide to Planning, Implementation, Operation and Enhancement by Chris Jones
The Multichannel Retail Handbook 2016 Edition – Volume 2: Operation and Enhancement: A Guide to Planning, Implementation, Operation and Enhancement by Chris Jones

Comment on Canadians Internet BusinessWhat is your biggest challenge in personalizing the Canadian customer experience across channels? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.


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Digital Business & Marketing Manager at Online Business Canada | Website | + posts

Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In 25 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available on Amazon.

Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on, and, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.

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It used to be something we could ignore if we wanted to but not anymore. Foot traffic falls if there’s no website and it’s only getting worse. Canadian biz needs to step up and go modern but they can’t do that using american information. That’s what makes you posts so valuable and I hope you keep it up.

Ken Armel

Thank you this is very helpful. Everytime I check into multichannel options I get dizzy but you’re helping me make sense of it all. I’m hoping it won’t be necessary to do EVERYTHING but at least enough to keep customers happy.