Which categories have had the biggest ecomm boost?

MiQ captures data from ecomm, coupon and discounting platforms to see if increased online interest makes up for dips in-store.


Online shopping has been exploding in recent months, but has the boom been the same for every category?

Marketing intelligence firm MiQ’s latest holiday shopping study was compiled based on insights captured from the shopping behaviour of two million distinct audiences from January to June.

MiQ leveraged log data feeds and third party integrations to establish key shifts in online consumer behaviour resulting from the pandemic. It also used data from past holiday shopping activity in conjunction with macroeconomic indicators to generate forecasts for the months ahead.

MiQ reports that online shopping continues to be on the rise after stores in most regions have reopened, and that this is especially the case for older audiences: adoption of online shopping platforms among people aged 35 and over has gone up by 15% compared to pre-COVID levels. Also, 40% of Canadian shoppers are researching more online than they did pre-COVID. Because of this, MiQ recommends that marketers establish a cross-platform digital strategy to connect where people are researching, comparison shopping and buying.

The online shopping boom, however, looks different across different categories. MiQ measured overall online shopping activity, which covers ecommerce traffic, but also activity on discounting, coupon and review platforms. There have been major lifts in online shopping activity for home furnishing (191.2%), general merchandise (170.1%) and hobby stores (154.9%). But home furnishing stores have also had a 69.6% dip in in-store activity, while hobby stores have had a 79% drop. The dip in in-store activity more general merchandise stores was a more muted 15.1%, and while food and beverage stores had an increase of 107% in online activity, it also had a 3.3% growth in in-store.

While clothing stores have had an 83.3% lift in online activity, that has been neutralized by an 84.2% decline in in-store.

Holiday-shopping infographic


The report also reaffirms research about holiday shopping early birds: while interest in holiday offers typically peaks in mid-November. But by comparing searches for key occasions such as Cyber Monday, Black Friday and Christmas deals going back to 2015, it sees big boosts across all three earlier and earlier every year, to the point that many Canadians are beginning shopping in October, a trend MiQ expects to ramp up even more in 2020.

It advises marketers to start early as well, but to remain flexible with media planning and execution in order to respond to any new behaviours that might emerge with changes in the state of the pandemic. One thing that will help with that is identifying their potential audiences in advance and map their purchase propensity, targeting the highest value customers across different platforms with products that are most relevant to them.

Finally, MiQ’s report finds that as people have adjusted to the new normal, consumer confidence has been increasing for the past 12 weeks. This is a result of the labour market recouping more than half of the losses in the past three months after mass business closures, and an increase in overall household spending on retail.