Online Shopping Increases in Canada

More than 1.7 million adult Canadians will purchase holiday gifts online this year, representing a 60 percent increase over last year, according to a survey commissioned by Visa Canada.

This holiday season 16 percent of adult Canadians will buy gifts online compared to 10 percent last year. The survey found that convenience, better prices and better selection are helping spur the growth in the number of online buyers this year.

Somewhat surprisingly, survey respondents failed to cite security atop their list of online shopping worries. Among the respondents who say they will shop online, 33 percent list the inability to see or touch products as an unappealing aspect of online buying. Only 10 percent of respondents who plan to shop online this holiday season cite security issues.

But among Canadians not planning to buy online, 20 percent cite security issues as an unappealing aspect of shopping online, 15 percent cite the desire to touch and see the merchandise, compared to 14 percent who prefer to shop in person.

The survey, which was conducted by Thompson Lightstone, also found that Canadians are buying a number of different items online this year. Twenty-seven percent of people buying online plan to buy books, another 20 percent plan to buy clothes, 16 percent are buying toys, 16 percent will buy electronic equipment, 14 percent will buy music online and eight percent will purchase computer-related items.

On average, holiday spending in Canada, both offline and online, will decline by more than 25 percent, with Canadians planning to spend an average of $433 online for holiday gifts this year vs. $597 spent last year. Holiday shoppers will buy for an average of six people this year and will spend approximately $72 per gift.

The national telephone survey was conducted between Oct. 25 and Oct. 31, 2001. A total of 1,000 male and female respondents 18 years of age and older were interviewed.

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