Majority of Canadians still plan to shop in stores this holiday season

Nov 23 2020, 3:06 pm

Even during an uptick in online shopping throughout the pandemic, two-thirds (68%) of Canadians still plan to visit stores during the upcoming holiday season.

According to the 2020 Holiday Shopping Report from Accenture, 71% of Canadians say in-store shops that offer safety measures (hand sanitizer and physical distancing) will be key factors in their comfort.

“In an extraordinary year that has affected businesses across the country, the good news is that Canadians are still looking to celebrate and plan to buy gifts and retailers can still expect both in-store and online traffic,” said Robin Sahota, a managing director at Accenture who leads its Retail industry in Canada. “With consumers paying close attention to health and safety precautions in stores, it will be important for adaptive retailers to be diligent in their efforts to help shoppers feel safe amidst the hustle and bustle of the season.”

Despite Canadians heading to stores to prepare for the holidays, more than half (58%) of those surveyed said they would be less inclined to venture out on Boxing Day because they feel “unsafe in large crowds.”

Canadians are expected to spend an average of $516 while holiday shopping in 2020, versus $712 in 2019, a reduction of close to 30%.

Canadians cite high shipping costs and delivery delays as their two top frustrations when it comes to e-commerce shopping. Two in five (40%) shoppers expect fast and free shipping, and nearly two-thirds (63%) said an unsatisfactory delivery experience would discourage them from shopping with a retailer again.

“Many retailers rushed to set up new or better e-commerce platforms in March at the start of the pandemic, and they’ve had time to iron out kinks,” Sahota said. “The holidays will be a true test of their ability to provide a secure and seamless shopping experience that is memorable for the right reasons.”

The survey also found that Canadians support local and ethical shopping. More than half (57%) of surveyed shoppers said they are “looking to buy more locally sourced products.”

Half of Canadians (51%) surveyed also plan to make eco-friendly or ethical purchases. In addition, 71% said they would welcome a donation to a charity on their behalf.

“There has never been a more important time for retailers to demonstrate their commitment to their people, their customers, and the wider community,” said Grace Ayoub, a managing director for Accenture’s Consumer Goods and Retail industry, based in Montreal. “Our report this year confirms Canadians prefer retailers that are truly focused on social responsibility. With the rise of the conscious consumer, retailers need to build sustainability into the core of their businesses and look for new ways to grow.”

Celebrations will look different across the country this year, with 56% planning to connect with family and friends over video chat instead of in-person.

More than half (57%) of surveyed Canadians said they “plan to focus on self-care and mental wellbeing, trying new recipes, and enjoying hobbies” over the holidays.


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