Shopping Online : Canadians take to online shopping
The latest U.S. data show online sales south of the border jumped 15 per cent this holiday season. In the five weeks up to Dec. 16, American sites took in $30.9 billion, according to the market research firm comScore.
No directly comparable data is available for Canada, the Reston, Va.-based company said.
However, many leading Canadian retailers have seen 5 to 10 per cent increases in site visits over last year, said Bryan Segal, vice-president with comScore in Canada.
Among the gainers: Amazon, Apple, Best Buy/Future Shop, Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire, Sears, Bell, Costco, Home Depot, Toys R Us, Staples, Hudson’s Bay Co., Chapters.Indigo, Ikea, Rona and The Source.
“We’re seeing a major increase in usage amongst retail web sites,” Segal said.
Online shopping in Canada
Online shopping in Canada is expected to grow 12 per cent to $18.5 billion this year, according to digital research firm eMarketer.
More Canadian retailers, including Canadian Tire, Wal-Mart and the Bay, got into the ecommerce game this year, said Jeffrey Grau, an analyst with eMarketer. At the same time, more U.S. retailers, including luxury fashion chain Nordstrom and luxury discounter Gilt.com, established Canadian ecommerce beachheads.
“That says to me Canadian e-commerce is inevitable. It’s so convenient to shop online. Retailers need to be there,” Grau said.
Among web retailers, properties owned by Amazon lead the way for site visits, according to comScore. Amazon.ca, which added home and garden, electronics and tools, to its selection of books and media, said customer response has “surpassed our expectations in every way” this holiday season. The online retailer declined to provide specific data.
Among the top sellers: Single serve espresso makers, tools, coffee table books and digital cameras, said Tracey Ogden, senior public relations manager.
Wal-Mart Canada began selling online in September and says sales have doubled each week since then. The most popular categories are electronics and toys.
Best Buy Canada and Future Shop are seeing double-digit growth in order volume online this holiday, according to Christopher Bennett, director of corporate communications for both brands. The two consumer electronics retailers are also reporting a dramatic 144 per cent increase in visits from mobile devices. The brands recently launched an optimized mobile site.
The most popular items are tablets, smart TVs, eReaders, small appliances, headphones and video games, Bennett said.
Sales and orders have also doubled at Mark’s website since the clothing chain re-launched its e-commerce site in November, said online business manager Kristine Arcand. The retailer is a division of Canadian Tire, which began selling tires online in September.
Leading book retailer Indigo said its web traffic was up 25 to 30 per cent so far this year. That’s partly due to its new Plum loyalty reward program, which delivers tailored recommendations to members by email. The retailer also experimented with “flash sales” over the lunch hour, where items are offered at deep discounts for limited periods, said chief marketing officer Deirdre Horgan.
And while you can still order online for delivery within the GTA, Windsor or Montreal in time for Christmas, last-minute shoppers can also use the web to research what’s still available and in which stores, Horgan noted.
Just over half of all Canadian web surfers bought something online in 2010, according to Statistics Canada. But even more – nearly three-quarters – browsed the web for information on products and services.
Canadians spent $15.3 billion online, or about $1,362 per person, mainly on hotels, airline tickets, concerts and theatrical events, and other merchandise.
Eight in 10 shopped on Canadian sites and nine out of 10 paid with credit cards, StatsCan also said.
Top online shopping sites in Canada
Amazon sites ————-42 per cent *
Apple sites—————–31 per cent
Kijiji.ca———————–23 per cent
BestBuy/Future Shop—22 per cent
Wal-Mart——————–17 per cent
Canadian Tire————-15 per cent
Sears————————13 per cent
Nextag.com—————12 per cent
Bell—————————11 per cent
Shopzilla.com————-11 per cent
• Percentage of Internet users that visited those sites in November, 2011.