Mobile purchases will surge this holiday season across Canada
Wednesday, Nov 22, 2017
Ahead of the peak holiday shopping season, new research from Angus Reid commissioned by PayPal, reveals that Canadians will spend more than $2.5 billion* using their mobile devices to shop for holiday gifts this year. In the third quarter of this fiscal year, more than 35 per cent of the transactions that PayPal processed globally, originated from a mobile device. The company expects to see a surge in mobile commerce in Canada over the holidays.

Canadian mobile shoppers** plan to spend more than $200 on holiday gifts from purchasing directly from their mobile device which is fairly close to the $275 which they plan to spend on buying gifts from a physical retail store. Many say they would use their mobile device to find and compare prices (62%) and research products (60%).

The latest holiday shopping trend is social commerce which is the act of people buying or selling directly from social media platforms. Survey data shows that one fourth of Canadians who own mobile devices plan to purchase a gift directly through an advertisement which pops up on their social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Of these shoppers, Millennials are more likely to drive social commerce (37%), followed by Gen X'ers (23%) and Baby Boomers (12%).

"At PayPal, we've witnessed the retail experience transform in the last few years with mobile devices defining how people shop for gifts and experiences, especially over the holidays," said Malini Mitra, consumer initiatives lead, PayPal Canada. "To compete for year-end sales, retailers should offer seamless mobile shopping experiences with an aggressive social media promotion strategy."

Mobile drives convenience and supports remote buying

Holiday shopping from mobile devices appear to be a preferred choice for those who live in Atlantic Canada. Four out of five Canadians in the Atlantic provinces prefer to check off their gift-list by shopping from their mobile device because it offers more flexibility and helps them avoid long checkout lines, holiday crowds and parking hassles.

When it comes to gift giving, about one third (31 per cent) of Manitobans and Saskatchewanians plan to purchase clothing, shoes, and accessories with their mobile device. Quebecers, on the other hand, are preparing to gift experiences, with 21 per cent intending to purchase event or movie tickets from their mobile devices. A quarter of tech-savvy Ontarians look to gift the latest gadgets and devices, while 13 per cent of Albertans plan to put sports equipment and apparel under the tree – all through mobile purchases.

Finding the best deals

While holiday spending can quickly escalate, Canadians plan to capitalize on early sales. About one-third (29 per cent) of mobile shoppers** plan to do their Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping with a mobile device. Items at the top of the shopping list include clothing, shoes and accessories, followed by tech gadgets and devices.

Gender shopping differences

Both men and women will use their mobile devices to shop this year, though the survey found distinct differences in how they will make their purchases. Women estimate to spend more on mobile shopping for the holidays – an average of $200 compared to $167, which is the average men expect to spend. More men (64%) said a mobile device is their preferred shopping method for the holidays compared to 51 percent of women who are likely to use their mobile device to shop. More than one-fourth of male Canadians will buy a tech gift or gadget with their mobile device, while only 14 per cent of women will do the same.

Mobile shopping drivers

Mobile devices enable consumers to easily compare prices and inventory and avoid the holiday shopping frenzy at malls. Better variety and gift items in stock are key motivators driving this preference. Additionally, research found that mobile shoppers would be more likely to use a mobile device to shop if there were special coupons or promotions (51%) and if their financial information was safe (41%).

Study methodology

An online (omnibus) survey was conducted through the Angus Reid Forum panel (facilitated by MARU/Matchbox). The omnibus was in field between October 13-18, 2017, and surveyed 1,544 Canadians aged 18+ (including 1,044 mobile shoppers). Results were broken out by region, age, gender, income, and education for demographic comparisons. The estimated margin of error for the total sample is +/- 2.5 per cent.

*To calculate the anticipated economic value to be spent over the 2017 holiday season by Canadians shopping with a mobile device, the Canadian adult population (outside of the Northwest Territories) was multiplied with the mean dollar expected to be spent over the holiday season (outliers removed) through a smartphone and/or internet-enabled tablet.

**Mobile shoppers are defined as those who made a purchase of a good or service using their smartphone or internet-enabled tablet in 2017 in Canada.

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