“As society returns to ‘normal’ it is becoming clear that online shopping habits and purchase habits built over the pandemic are mostly here to stay. While social distancing at home during lockdowns, consumer online shopping activity had exploded and has, for the most part, remained elevated despite bricks and mortar stores reopening. With new innovations like the metaverse and liveshopping gaining ground in the consumer zeitgeist, 2023 is poised to be an interesting year for the ecommerce industry.”

– Michael Lloy, Senior Tech & Media Analyst

Key issues covered in this Report:

  • How online purchase habits and patterns have changed for consumers over the past 12 months.
  • How consumers are reacting to new innovation in the ecommerce space.
  • What priorities consumers have when shopping online.
  • What devices consumers are using to browse and make purchases on.

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Key issues covered in this Report
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
    • The ecommerce outlook
      • Figure 1: Category outlook, the future of ecommerce, 2023-28
    • Opportunities
    • Brands can bring younger men back into the fold by helping them craft their purchasing habits
    • Brands can look to third-party apps for ways to streamline their own
    • Challenges
    • Innovation is bottle-necked by consumer indifference
  3. The Market – By the Numbers

    • Retail ecommerce sales remain elevated after a significant pandemic rise
      • Figure 2: Retail ecommerce sales, January 2019 – November 2022
  4. Market Factors

    • Economic factors are still very top-of-mind for consumers
    • As the cost of basic goods rises, Canadians are tightening their belts
      • Figure 3: Canadian CPI, 2020-22
    • Household savings have plateaued around 5%
      • Figure 4: Canadian household savings rate, Q1 2019-Q3 2022
    • Canada’s ageing population will likely put pressure on younger Canadians
      • Figure 5: Canadian population age projections, yearly, 2000-40
    • Diversity among future generations is projected to increase
      • Figure 6: Proportion of visible minority in Canada, 1981-2036
  5. Competitive Strategies

    • Live shopping has not taken off as predicted, but brands are still trying to find a niche
      • Figure 7: Lush Pinterest TV live shopping Twitter post, January 2022
    • Brands abroad explore QR codes and interesting metaverse applications
    • Other brands experiment with… Roblox?!
      • Figure 8: Gucci Instagram post, May 2022
    • Consumers are turning to third-party apps to find deals when shopping
      • Figure 9: Flashfood Instagram post, April 2022
    • Instacart ramps up its Canadian operations
      • Figure 10: Instacart Instagram post, December 2022
  6. Fast Facts: The Future of eCommerce

  7. Online Shopping Frequency

    • Consumers have maintained heightened levels of online shopping
      • Figure 11: Online shopping frequency over the past 12 months, 2022 vs 2021 vs 2018
    • Consumers aged 35-44 are the most frequent online shoppers
      • Figure 12: Online shopping frequency over the past 12 months, by age, 2022
      • Figure 13: Online shopping 2-3 times per week over the past 12 months, by age, 2022 vs 2021
      • Figure 14: Online shopping 2-3 times per week by men over the past 12 months, by age, 2022 vs 2021
      • Figure 15: Gillette gaming Twitter post, October 2022
    • Still, despite cutbacks among younger men, men overall report increased online shopping for sustainability purposes
      • Figure 16: Online shopping is eco-friendly (% agree), by age and gender, 2022
      • Figure 17: Amazon Canada Twitter post, December 2022
    • Similar to last year, parents remain more frequent online shoppers
      • Figure 18: Online shopping frequency over the past 12 months, moms vs dads, 2022
  8. Online Shopping Volume

    • Volume of online shopping per consumer remained static in 2022
      • Figure 19: Online shopping volume over the past 12 months, 2022 vs 2021 vs 2018
    • Younger consumers are buying nearly half of their items online
      • Figure 20: 50% or more of total purchases made online, by age, 2022 vs 2021
    • Still, consumers aged 18-24 seem to be shifting away from online purchases compared to 2021
      • Figure 21: 50% or more of total purchases made online, men vs women age 18-24 and 35-44, 2022 vs 2021
    • Still, men aged 35-44 have significantly increased their online shopping volume
    • Younger consumers also report spending less money online compared to last year
      • Figure 22: “I am spending less money on online purchases than I did in 2021” (% agree), by age and gender, 2022
    • Despite reduced activity, younger consumers still report a preference for online shopping
      • Figure 23: “In general, I prefer online shopping to in-store shopping” (% agree), by age, 2022
  9. Online Shopping Devices and Methods

    • Smartphones are closing the distance with computers for online shopping device choice
      • Figure 24: Devices used to browse online in the past 12 months, 2022 vs 2021
      • Figure 25: Devices used to make an online purchase in the past 12 months, 2022 vs 2021
    • Older consumers were significantly more likely to have utilized a computer to browse or buy
      • Figure 26: Devices used to browse online and/or to purchase online in the past 12 months, by age, 2022
    • Women aged 35-54 have the largest increase in smartphone browsing activity
      • Figure 27: Devices used by 35-54s to browse online and/or to purchase online in the past 12 months, men vs women, 2022 vs 2021
    • Chinese Canadians skew higher for browsing and purchasing via computer
      • Figure 28: Devices used to browse online and/or to purchase online in the past 12 months, by race, 2022
    • Just under one third of consumers are interested in shopping via social media, driven by younger men
      • Figure 29: Social media shopping interest (% agree), by age and gender, 2022
    • Social media shopping is piquing fathers’ interest
      • Figure 30: Social media shopping interest (% agree), by parental status, 2022
    • Unsurprisingly, younger consumers are also more open to small businesses on online marketplaces
      • Figure 31: Openness to online marketplace shopping (% agree), by age, 2022
  10. Purchase Categories in 2022

    • At an aggregate, most categories did not see large shifts over the past year
      • Figure 32: Online shopping purchases, by category, 2022 vs 2021
    • Older men are driving the decline in electronics purchases
      • Figure 33: Electronics purchases made online, by age and gender, 2022 vs 2021
    • Moms more likely to have purchased online across most product categories than dads
      • Figure 34: Online shopping purchases, moms vs dads, 2022
    • Categories like personal care and beauty have seen purchase patterns disrupted among younger consumers
      • Figure 35: Personal care products purchased online over the past 12 months, by age, 2022 vs 2021
      • Figure 36: Dollar Shave Club Facebook contest, October 2022
    • Younger women maintained online beauty purchases while some young men turned elsewhere
      • Figure 37: Beauty products purchased online over the past 12 months, by age and gender, 2022
    • Black consumers, in particular, prefer to shop for beauty products online
      • Figure 38: Beauty products purchased online over the past 12 months, Black/African consumers vs overall, 2022
  11. Shifts in Delivery Methods

    • Unscheduled home deliveries are up while curbside pickup gets kicked to the curb
      • Figure 39: Delivery methods over the past 12 months, 2022 vs 2021
    • Women under 45 are driving the increase in unscheduled deliveries
      • Figure 40: Unscheduled home delivery over the past 12 months, by age and gender, 2021 vs 2022
    • Lower-income consumers are less likely to have unscheduled deliveries, utilize scheduled pickups and postal offices
      • Figure 41: Delivery methods over the past 12 months, by income (CAD), 2022
    • Fathers are more likely to pick up in-store and utilize pickup lockers…
      • Figure 42: Delivery methods over the past 12 months, moms vs dads, 2022
    • …while parents of both genders engage in curbside pickup more than non-parents
  12. Consumer Online Shopping Priorities

    • Shipping priorities rank highly among consumers
      • Figure 43: Consumer ecommerce priorities, 2022
    • When considering a suite of delivery options, brands need to include sustainability
      • Figure 44: “I would abandon an online purchase if I discovered an item wasn’t shipped with sustainable packaging” (% agree), by age and gender, 2022
      • Figure 45: “I would pay more for a sustainable shipping option” (% agree), by age and gender, 2022
    • Despite shipping priorities, brands shouldn’t skimp on experience when it comes to customer service
    • Younger consumers look to be rewarded for their patronage and loyalty
      • Figure 46: Cash back site preference (% agree), by age, 2022
      • Figure 47: PayPal Honey Twitter post, June 2022
    • Younger consumers are more excited about shopping experience innovations
      • Figure 48: VR/liveshopping importance (% any important), by age and gender, 2022
      • Figure 49: Gucci Vault Instagram post, October 2022
    • Despite shopping experience in-roads, many consumers still prefer traditional click-and-collect
      • Figure 50: VR/liveshopping importance, by age and gender, 2022
  13. Online Shopping Innovations

    • Consumers are hesitant to really dive into technological shopping innovations
      • Figure 51: Shopping innovations (% agree), 2022
    • Men aged 18-44 are driving interest in tech-related shopping innovations
      • Figure 52: Shopping innovations (% agree), men 18-44 vs overall, 2022
    • Black and South Asian consumers are most likely to report being interested in online shopping innovation
      • Figure 53: Shopping innovations (% agree), Black/African consumers and South Asian consumers vs overall, 2022
  14. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Consumer survey data
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
    • Terms

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