How Canadians Plan to Shop This Holiday Season

By: Gary Parkinson on November 13, 2012

Canadians are preparing to spend a little more this holiday season, and many will use the internet to do it.  A survey commissioned by Deloitte, one of Canada’s leading professional services firms, indicates Canadians will spend 1 to 2 percent more than they did last year.  In addition, almost 60 percent of respondents said they will be using the internet to search for the best prices and promotions.

The survey found that pricing will most determine where Canadians choose to shop over the holidays. Brent Houlden, who works for a retail division of Deloitte, says online price checking keeps retailers very price competitive, and is an increasingly important factor in the purchasing decisions of Canadians. When it comes time to buy, many Canadians also look south of the border to figure out if they are getting a good deal. With a couple clicks of a button they can see what prices their American counterparts are getting for the same product.

As Houlden puts it, “Canadians are always trying to find the best price in Canada and then they go, 'Oh, what would it be in the States?'

Perhaps unexpectedly, the Deloitte survey also suggests that while the volume of online buying and price checking is on the rise, actual cross-border shopping is losing its appeal. Fully 67 percent of respondents said they planned to stay in Canada to shop this holiday season.  One of the reasons cited by Houlden is the expansion of US retailers into Canada, using Target as an example.

The survey also found that Canadians who are living in major cities are more likely to shop online.  For example, fully 70 percent of respondents in the Greater Toronto Area said they would make some of their holiday purchases online. 

Broadly interpreted the survey seems to suggest that Canadians of all stripes not surprisingly want the same thing this holiday season: to find the best deals available while avoiding long lines, large crowds and traffic. Given these preferences it’s clear that online shopping will be on the rise for many years to come.