Study: How Canadians Will Shop Online This Season

Why Did We Conduct This Study?

Search Engine People conducted this survey to understand how Canadians intend to make their holiday gift purchases online this year. It was our goal to learn whether they preferred to shop for gifts via their mobile device or desktop computer, and if they intended to shop online at all.

The results of this study will become part of SEP's ongoing research into the buying habits of Canadian consumers.

How Did We Perform the Study?

SEP used Google's online Consumer Surveys platform to ask 1,501 Canadian residents the question, How will you shop online for holiday gifts this year?

Respondents were asked to select one of the following three options:

  • Using a desktop
  • Using a mobile phone or tablet
  • I will not shop online

All survey responses were collected over a 3-day period in October 2015.

Respondent Details:

The answers were displayed in a randomly reversed order.

Sampling bias:

Comparing this question's sample distribution to the Internet Population data for Canada.

Group Response Non-response Internet Population Bias
Male 55.5% 51.6% 50.4% 5.1%
Female 44.5% 48.4% 49.6% -5.1%
18-24 25.8% 15.7% 20.1% 5.7%
25-34 23.8% 17.0% 20.1% 3.8%
35-44 14.2% 18.2% 18.3% -4.1%
45-54 13.1% 18.7% 18.3% -5.2%
55-64 13.0% 17.8% 14.8% -1.8%
65+ 10.1% 12.7% 8.5% 1.6%
British Columbia 17.5% 20.5% 14.1% 3.4%
Prairies 18.3% 15.9% 18.0% 0.2%
Ontario 49.7% 46.1% 38.8% 10.9%
Quebec 8.8% 11.2% 22.4% -13.5%
Atlantic 5.7% 6.1% 6.5% -0.8%
North 0.1% 0.2% 0.2% -0.2%
RMSE score 5.4%


What Did We Find Out?

The results of our survey produced some interesting findings, giving us unique insight into Canadians attitude towards online shopping for this upcoming holiday season.

Age plays a huge role in whether or not an individual will shop online for holiday gifts. Older and younger age groups prefer to shop offline, while middle-aged Canadians are more likely to shop online. In the data below, we've noted a Flying V pattern in relation to age and willingness to shop online.

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Canadians in suburban areas like to use their desktop to shop for holiday gifts, more so than their urban counterparts.

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More than 50% of those who earn between $25-49K will not shop online this year.

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35-44 year olds are more likely to shop via their mobile phone or tablet than those aged 18-24.

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So What?

The findings highlight the fact that there are a number of factors that can affect whether or not a person will shop online. For example, we can infer that the large percentage of older Canadians who will not shop for gifts online may choose to avoid it due to lack of familiarity or trust in online retailers. Similarly, those in the youngest age bracket may not have the ability to shop online, or be comfortable with online shopping.

Of particular interest to SEP are some of the findings related to shopping on a mobile device. The fact that the 35-44 age group preferred to shop via mobile more than the younger 18-24 age group indicates that it is not just young adults who are rapidly adopting mobile applications and technologies.

SEP will continue to study consumers online shopping behaviour, and how this will impact our clients in the ecommerce space. We will also continue to watch trends closely as online shopping via mobile device continues to increase in popularity in order to make the best possible recommendations for the digital strategies of online retailers.