How Canadians will shop this season

Gen Xers are more likely to use an app to shop than millennials, and other stats from Google's shopping survey.

Online shopping, be it through a computer or mobile device, is more common than ever this holiday season, but that doesn’t mean the old-fashioned, in-store shopping rush has been left behind, according to a new report from Google Canada.

Released today on Google Canada’s Think Insights website, the search giant commissioned research from Ipsos Reid, compiling responses from 1,054 holiday shoppers collected between Sept. 10 and 17.

When it comes to online shopping, 34% of Canadians will both do their research and make their purchases online, a 23% increase from last year. This isn’t just a millennial trend, either: 32% of Canadians 33 and older will shop online, barely behind millennials at 36%.

Many trends, especially when it comes to mobile, seem to be more prevalent in Gen X than Gen Y. Those over 33 years old are faster to make a purchase using a mobile device, with 57% of them doing it within a few hours of researching a product, compared to 41% of millennials. They are also far more likely to use an app for holiday shopping, with 70% of Gen Xers downloading and using them, compared to 36% of millennials.

Overall, 59% of holiday shoppers plan to use their smartphone for holiday browsing, with 62% doing so from home and 48% doing so while they are in a store, most often to do price comparisons (38% of respondents). While 16% are planning to make a purchase on a mobile device, of those who do their research on mobile devices, 56% will make a purchase, either digitally or in-store, on the same day.

Despite the rise of holiday e-commerce, Canadians will still make an average of five trips to retailers for their gift purchases this year according to the survey, and 21% of shoppers will research online, visit a retailer in-store, then make a purchase online. Furthermore, the report says that online stores are filling the window-shopping role more and more, with 54% of shoppers saying they will research online before making an in-store purchase. Overall, 72% of Canadian will use at least one online source to find inspiration or research purchases, expecting to spend an average of 8.6 hours doing so over the holiday season. Getting to consumers during this research process seems to be important, as 77% of Canadians do not have specific retailers and 73% do not have specific brands in mind as they do their holiday shopping.

The U.S. is having more of an influence on holiday shopping here: 44% of Canadians say they will shop Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales this year, up from 22% in 2013. Nearly half of all holiday fashion and electronics purchases will be made during these sales, with clothing purchases more prevalent on Black Friday and electronics slightly more prevalent on Cyber Monday. The shopping might not be exactly for holiday gift-giving, though, as 45% said they were more likely to shop for themselves during these sales.

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