Mini shopping basket with credit card and boxes in

Canadian Online Shopping Trends

July 23, 2018
4 min read

The popularity of online shopping in Canada is undeniable with Amazon alone expected to take 41.5% of all retail e-commerce sales in 202, and 96% of Canadians surveyed saying they have bought something online in the last year. Consumers who purchase goods online take advantage of the wide selection, competitive prices, and expedited shipping rates. However, convenience is the reason why Canadians still pick up the phone as opposed to racing toward their nearest store. As the retail landscape changes, new ideas will be implemented to attract Canadian consumers. So, what’s next for online shopping?

Smart Speakers are Changing How and When Consumers Shop

The greater usage of smart speakers has the potential to change the way consumers ask for and process information. Canadian families have embraced smart technology. The internet-connected smart home market grew to 47% in 2022, with smart speakers being the favorite option for many with a 30% market share.

The release of the Amazon Echo in 2018 provided consumers with easier access to information. Owners of voice-activated speakers are open to receiving information that is helpful and relevant to their lifestyle. Looking ahead, this has implications for brands and the way they provide information to consumers. In particular, as the nature of voice assistants is verbal, the information consumers are fed is more concise and streamlined compared to when a consumer is searching for information via a desktop or mobile webpage. However, when responses are given in an auditory format via a voice assistant, they are given much fewer responses. For example, Google Home typically offers three options to a question such as “Where is the best Italian restaurant?”. This implies that the relationship between consumers and brands will also evolve moving forward.

Recent developments in AI chat technology will no doubt only enhance the at-home shopping experience for Canadians. Broad access to intelligent interactive chatbots will assist users who don’t use their smart speaker: 76% shop online with a computer desktop or laptop.

Amazon Will Continue to Broaden its Appeal to Younger Shoppers

Amazon released its Amazon Teen feature in the US in 2018 which allows those aged 13-17 to get their own log-in linked to their parents’ Amazon Prime account. Teenagers will be able to keep their wish lists, recommendations and Prime content private and separate from their parents but still able to enjoy the Prime perks such as free two-day shipping and stream Amazon content such as movies and shows. However, parents still have control as they can approve order details or set a spending limit. The Amazon ecosystem seems to be thriving on the back of continued innovation. 

Retailers Are Creating Their Own Special Celebration Days

As explored in our research on holiday shopping in Canada, nearly half of Canadians save their holiday purchases for special event days such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Retailers are aware of the higher consumer engagement and are taking matters into their own hands. Rather than fighting the clutter during these hyped-up days, there is a trend towards companies creating their own special sales event days as ways to motivate consumers during off-peak times.

Amazon’s Prime Day, which debuted in July 2015, is the epitome of this trend. Following its success, Wayfair launched its very own ‘Way Day’, in April 2018, which promised some of its biggest deals of the year as a way to get consumers excited about buying furniture online.

Companies are Finding Ways to Make Shipping Even Faster

Companies are investing heavily in ways that will make shipping to the consumer quicker and more seamless moving forward. Which is why Amazon and UPS are investing in drones to make deliveries. Despite complex logistics and steep regulatory hurdles, the potential benefits to retailers of deliveries by drones are too good for retailers to pass up. While investment in such technology will cost more upfront, the usage of robots to deliver items to customers ultimately means faster deliveries at a fraction of the cost for retailers.

Amazon has a history of exploring other ways to improve shipping. In 2017, the company announced its Amazon Key service which allows couriers to unlock a customer’s front door and drop off their package at home. Customers interested in this service will need to order an Amazon Key In-Home Kit, Amazon Cloud Cam, and one of several compatible smart locks. In a plan to make shipping convenient no matter where a consumer is, Amazon has announced that it will collaborate with GM and Volvo to deliver packages to the trunk of its customers’ cars.

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Carol Wong-Li
Carol Wong-Li

Carol Wong-Li is Mintel’s Director of Consumers & Culture Reports.

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