Canadian Shoppers Prefer Canadian Sites

Seventy percent of online buyers in Canada prefer to make their purchases from Canadian sites, and 52 percent made their most recent purchase from a Canadian site, according to a survey by Deloitte & Touche and the Angus Reid Group.

E-commerce in Canada has matured to the point where the majority of online Canadians (51 percent) report having made an online purchase. Total online consumer spending has increased 38 percent since last March, from $1.2 billion annually to about $1.65 billion. More than one-quarter (26 percent) of Canada’s online population say they will make some of their holiday purchases online in 1999. Canadians will spend a total of $282 million online for gifts this holiday season.

“Canadian e-commerce spending numbers are demonstrating some very significant upward trends that show Canadian e-retailers are recapturing what had been lost to Americans,” said Steve Mossop, Senior VP of Angus Reid Group. “The Christmas e-shopping bonanza may represent a significant turning point for Canadian e-tailers.”

Although total consumer spending has increased significantly, Canadians still significantly trail US consumers in the amount of money spent making purchases over the Internet in the last year. On average, Americans spent $1,326 in purchases compared to $431 Canadian dollars in Canada.

The biggest barriers to online purchasing in Canada remain credit card security and privacy concerns. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of respondents cited these as their primary reasons for not purchasing gifts online. Furthermore, 35 percent of existing online shoppers and 61 percent of those who have never purchased online agree that security concerns will limit the amount of their online purchases over the 1999 holiday season.

“To succeed in e-business, companies must earn the trust of their customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders,” said Deloitte & Touche’s Adel Melek. “Providing appropriate security over information and transactions is an essential aspect of building that trust. Canadian retailers must identify, assess, monitor, and manage their e-business risks and build in the security and reliability they need to succeed.”

The Canadian government has introduced legislation, Bill C-6, that would implement mandatory data protection rules for personal information. If enacted, the bill would make the US the only industrialized nation without comprehensive privacy legislation.

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