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Survey: Two-thirds of Canadians to shop in-store for Christmas

Survey: Two-thirds of Canadians to shop in-store for Christmas 

With the risks involved in physical shopping due to the pandemic, over two-thirds (68 per cent) of Canadians are planning to shop in-stores during the holiday season, according to the 2020 Holiday Shopping Report from Accenture.

Of the consumers shopping in stores, about 71 per cent said that stores with hand sanitizer and masks for public use are key factors for their comfort, while 67 per cent said that enabling physical distancing by limiting the number of customers inside a store is also a significant consideration.

“In an extraordinary year that has affected businesses across the country, the good news is that Canadians are still looking to celebrate and plan to buy gifts and retailers can still expect both in-store and online traffic,” said Robin Sahota, a managing director at Accenture who leads its Retail industry in Canada. “With consumers paying close attention to health and safety precautions in stores, it will be important for adaptive retailers to be diligent in their efforts to help shoppers feel safe amidst the hustle and bustle of the season.”

Despite this number, 58 per cent of respondents said they would be less incline to venture out on Christmas Day as they feel unsafe in large crowds. Aside from this, 25 per cent of Canadians said that Boxing Day is no longer one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

In terms of spending, consumers are expected to spend just $516 versus last year’s $721 as household budgets have reduced to 30 per cent. For businesses, however, the good news is that couples with kids expect to spend $701 on average.

E-commerce is also a large consideration to consumers. Part of the top frustrations experienced are high shipping costs (62 per cent) and delivery delays (52 per cent). 40 per cent of consumers are expecting fast and free shipping and nearly 63 per cent said that bad delivery experience would discourage them from shopping with a said retailer again.

“Many retailers rushed to set up new or better e-commerce platforms in March at the start of the pandemic, and they’ve had time to iron out kinks,” said Sahota. “The holidays will be a true test of their ability to provide a secure and seamless shopping experience that is memorable for the right reasons. Retailers who intend to lead now and in the future should scale e-commerce to cater to consumers’ digital experiences and must be prepared to communicate transparently about the state of inventory while addressing rising delivery costs to avoid negative experiences that could hurt long-term loyalty.”

The research survey also found that Canadians are local and ethical shoppers. Fifty seven per cent are looking to buy more locally sourced goods; 54 per cent said they would be inspired to purchase with a retailer who supported their staff during the pandemic; 51 per cent said they plan to make eco-friendly or ethical purchases; and 71 per cent said they would welcome a donation to a charity on their behalf. 

“There has never been a more important time for retailers to demonstrate their commitment to their people, their customers and the wider community,” said Grace Ayoub, a managing director for Accenture’s Consumer Goods and Retail industry, based in Montreal. “Our report this year confirms Canadians prefer retailers that are truly focused on social responsibility. With the rise of the conscious consumer, retailers need to build sustainability into the core of their businesses and look for new ways to grow.”

Regardless of the types of gifts consumers will give this season, celebrations will look a bit different as 56 per cent plan to connect with family and friends over video chat instead of in person. Less travel means more time at home with 57 per cent planning to focus on self-care and mental wellbeing, 52 per cent to try new recipes, and 48 per cent to enjoy hobbies.

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