Canadians still love brick-and-mortar
A new study reveals some strikingly different digital behaviors that affect retailers' strategies to serve shoppers in Canada and the U.S.
For Canadian shoppers, the brick-and-mortar experience still holds a strong appeal. GfK’s latest FutureBuy report – tracking shopping habits in 35 countries and 18 product categories – shows Canadians lagging in some digital shopping behaviors and attitudes.
But more than four in 10 (43%) Canadian shoppers report researching a product online via their smartphones and then purchasing in-store. This compares to a global average of 41%, and a U.S. score of 38%.
In addition, over one-third (38%) of Canadian shoppers say they have used a “click-and-collect” service, and 35% say they expect to rely on these offerings more in the future. Click-and-collect allows shoppers to buy online and then pick up their items at a store or drop box.
Although the U.S. has recorded strong growth in “omnishopping” – combined in-person and online shopping – for everyday items, Canada’s scores were 5 to 7 points below global averages. Canadian shoppers are also much less likely to agree with key attitudinal statements about online shopping, such as:
- “I can shop for 100% of the products I need online” – 29% of Canadian shoppers agree (versus 47% globally)
- “My mobile device is quickly becoming my most important shopping tool” – 23% agreement in Canada (38% globally)
Among Canadian shoppers who chose to purchase a product in store, rather than online, more than half (52%) cited being able to see the item before buying as the main reason. In addition, 44% of in-store purchasers liked the idea of getting the product sooner.
By contrast, when Canadian shoppers chose to buy online, saving money was the dominant reason, mentioned by nearly half (48%).
“Canadians are clearly becoming smartphone aficionados – but they still value the immediacy and hands-on interaction of the store experience,” said Chris Thorne, Vice President of Research at GfK Canada. “We can see webrooming and click-and-collect as two aspects of their preference for the in-person component. This offers a powerful opportunity for Canadian retailers to provide shoppers with the tactile engagement they crave. It also means that online and in-store experiences must be seamlessly integrated, now more than ever.”