Canadians love shopping online

Online holiday shopping expenditures exceeded early expectations, according to a survey conducted by Pollara, and co-sponsored by Chapters Online Inc. The survey, conducted between December 27, 1999 and December 31, 1999, asked Canadians with Internet connections whether they had shopped online, and how much they had spent.

The survey shows that Canadians spent more than $627 million online over the holiday period, against predicted expenditures of $370 million. (Surveys show U.S. expenditures of $8-9 billion (U.S.) compared to a predicted $6 billion (U.S.)). Last year, Canadian online holiday spending was $150 million, or less than a quarter of this year’s total.

"About the same number as we predicted would shop online actually did, which is about ten per cent of Canadians with Internet access," says Duncan McKie, Pollara’s senior vice president. "We were surprised by the fact that Canadians spent substantially more than they had anticipated once they started shopping online. Clearly the cyberspace shopping experience was much more positive than they might have initially thought."

According to the survey, we Canadians tend to purchase "lorisk" items for the holidays: 34 per cent purchased books; 18 per cent purchased recorded music, 22 per cent purchased toys and 19 per cent purchased clothing. The median amount per purchase was about $50, and the median total purchase per individual was about $100 for all holiday online purchases.

The survey also showed that service from online retailers was a little better than most people expected. Of those polled, 82 per cent rated online service as excellent or good, with 14 per cent reporting receiving their goods later than anticipated.

Some things never change, whether you’re shopping at the corner store, the mega-mall, or online: successful retailers are those who provide superior service. In the case of online retailers, this usually means punctual delivery, and those who neglect this are, well, doomed.