Canadians go online a lot, but not to shop

A survey finds Canadians prefer buying at bricks and mortar stores
8/29/2013

A new international survey by RetailMeNot found that 22% of Canadians never buy anything online, compared to 12% of Americans and only 6% of both Germans and Britons. Quebec has the highest percentage of respondents who never buy online (29%).

The survey, conducted for RetailMeNot by Ipsos Public Affairs, measured the couponing and shopping behaviours of 10,000 people in 11 countries.

While the vast majority of Canadian consumers have shopped online, three in four still shop primarily in-store, said Josh Harding, vice-president of global operations at RetailMeNot, Inc., an Austin, Tex.-based digital coupon website that recently expanded into Canada with RetailMeNot.ca.

“A lot of it has to do with retail taking place on both sides of the border,” said Harding. “There are a lot of things that end up taking place that make online commerce difficult. Part of that is shipping costs and the associate taxes and duties that hit the consumer when those goods cross borders. It’s much less transparent today for the Canadian consumer. They’re not really sure what the real costs are going to be.”

Canadians are also among the least likely to use their mobile devices for shopping (40%), joined at the bottom by the French (30%) and Dutch (41%).

Survey respondents in India (82%) and China (76%) are the most likely to use their mobile devices to shop.

When it comes to finding money savings, 28% of Canadians look for coupons or vouchers in the newspaper or mail, ahead of the international average of 16%.

Only 4% of Canadians look for coupons or vouchers through social media, while 15% of Canadians never look for deals and offers on products. They are also the likely out of all 11 countries surveyed to visit a price comparison website (6%).

Internationally, only 12% of respondents have used a QR code to find out more information about a product.

More than half of Canadians surveyed (52%) said they value brands that offer coupons, ahead of the international average of 43%.

Only 12% of Canadians don’t trust that retailers who issue coupons or vouchers are giving an actual deal, and 27% feel like people who don’t use coupons are wasting their money.

“There’s definitely a lot of interest in Canada around savings and deals when it comes to offline,” said Harding. “I think the biggest hole right now is just educating the Canadian consumer that the same content is available online and sometimes it’s even better online.”

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