Canadian e-retailers to benefit from buy-local holiday shopping trend

By anna smith

PayPal, a global digital payments leader, along with Ipsos, released research on holiday shopping trends ahead of Black Friday. The study revealed that a buy-local mentality is sweeping across the nation with three out of four (73 percent) Canadian online shoppers planning to buy holiday gifts online from Canadian retailers instead of buying from U.S. or international websites. Of those people, 43 percent are planning to buy more gifts from Canadian retailers than they did last year. Millennials are more inclined to shop online from domestic websites with 83 percent saying they plan to do so.

Shopping local is now officially in vogue. The research reveals that this trend is driven by a multitude of factors with more than half (56 percent) of Canadians revealing that they plan to shop online from Canadian retailers because they want to support local businesses and the economy. Canadians are also choosing to shop online from domestic retailers because they want to avoid the cost of international shipping, taxes and duties (51 percent), unfavourable exchange rates (44 percent) and many (32 percent) prefer goods that are made in Canada.

“Canadian retailers are embracing e-commerce more than ever before and offering greater choice to consumers who want to shop online this side of the border,” said Kerry Reynolds, head of consumer marketing at PayPal Canada. “Canadian-sold goods are in demand and the Canadian economy stands to benefit immensely from this trend.”

Social commerce is now trending

PayPal’s research revealed that Canadian online shoppers are warming up to ‘social commerce’ which is defined as buying directly from an advertisement on a social media platform. One in four (26 percent) Canadian online shoppers have already engaged in social commerce and half (54 percent) say they would consider it.

Canadians are the one of the most plugged-in social media users in the world, spending an average of two hours and 19 minutes on social media platforms everyday1. In the last two years, social media and e-commerce intersected when popular social media platforms launched “Shop Now” and “Buy” buttons making it easier for customers to purchase products without leaving their social media accounts.

Social media enables people to gather instant feedback on products and services from friends, family and peers. To connect with consumers more directly, many brands engage celebrities or ‘influencers’– with large social media followings – to promote products. Recognizing this trend, PayPal looked at consumer purchase behaviour to gather insights on Canadians’ attitudes towards influencer marketing and found that only seven  percent of Canadian online shoppers would consider buying a celebrity-endorsed item on social media. Looking at millennials specifically, this number almost doubles to 13 percent.

Recommendations from friends and family have a greater influence on buying behavior. The study revealed that close to one in three (34 percent) Canadian online shoppers said they would consider buying an item directly from a brand’s advertisement on a social media platform if recommended by a peer, with Baby Boomers leading the way at 38  percent.

What else entices Canadians to buy directly from social media platforms? Some of the leading reasons Canadians would consider social commerce include discounts or promotions (56 percent), the item advertised would make a good holiday gift (45 percent), or they’ve shopped from the brand before (32 percent).

Millennials are shopping mindfully

Millennials are leading the way when it comes to ‘responsible shopping’ – buying an item where a portion of proceeds are donated to a social cause or charity. Nearly seven out of ten (67 percent) millennials are planning to shop online for gifts that give back this holiday season. Not only are millennials more likely to consider responsible shopping, one in four (26 percent) are willing to pay more for gifts that give back, compared to only 15 percent of 35-54 year olds and seven percent of those above 55 years of age.

tentree is a PayPal-powered, Regina-based lifestyle brand that for every item sold, plants 10 trees in areas where they can influence the greatest transformation both ecologically and socially. Offering an interactive experience, shoppers can enter a code found on their purchase tag to track where their ten trees have been planted by visiting

tentree’s business model has gained significant traction with Millennial shoppers. Kalen Emsley, co-founder of tentree, shared the following insight: “Millennials in particular want to do good and they want to invest in the give-back experience. Brands that invest in engaging their customers will earn greater brand loyalty, see the benefit to their bottom line, and ultimately will be better positioned to do more good for their chosen cause.” 

Study Methodology

The findings are based on an Ipsos poll conducted between October 26 and October 28, 2016, on behalf of PayPal. For this survey, a sample of 1,002 Canadian online shoppers from Ipsos' online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval.  In this case, the poll is accurate to within / - 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian online shoppers aged 18 been polled.

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