Canadians are ready to get back to the hustle and bustle of the holidays, with many planning to do their holiday shopping in-store and well into December, according to the 2021 Holiday Shopping Report from Accenture.
The 10th annual survey of Canadian consumers reveals that more than half (57 percent) are planning to do the majority of their shopping in-store while 43 percent intend to shop primarily online. The report also found that 75 percent intend to do some (46 percent) or a lot (29 percent) of their holiday shopping in December, with nearly half (47 percent) admitting they will do some or most of their shopping at the last minute.
Men are more likely to shop at brick-and-mortar locations, with 63 percent intending to do the bulk of their shopping in-store, compared with 53 percent of women.
Holiday spending is also on the rise. Canadians plan to spend $635 on average this holiday season, up 23 percent ($119) from last year’s survey. Adults with kids who believe in Santa plan to spend the most — $956. Baby Boomers will also be indulging, with an average anticipated spend of $713. Men are planning to spend around $38 more than women at $655 while single adults plan to spend the least, at $453.
“Despite the dramatic growth we’ve seen in online shopping as a result of the pandemic, many Canadians will be purchasing in stores to prepare for the holidays,” said Robin Sahota, a managing director at Accenture who leads its Retail practice in Canada. “Shoppers are well informed on the shipping delays and inventory issues, and while many will visit stores early to ensure they get what they want, we also found that many Canadian consumers plan to visit stores in December, with many planning to do much of their gift buying at the last minute.”
Many Canadians are feeling charitable
The survey also found that almost seven in 10 Canadian consumers (69 percent) intend to make some form of charitable contribution over the holidays.
“The fact that so many Canadians plan to give during the holidays represents an opportunity for brands to partner with charities that their customers hold close to their hearts. If retailers and brands are encouraging their customers to support their affiliated charities, they also need to make it an easy experience,” said Sahota. “At the same time, many families are still feeling the economic impact of COVID-19, which will understandably have an impact on the amount they are able to donate while others may have already donated throughout the year.”
Consumers covet traditional in-store shopping and tech-driven innovations
Respondents cited attentive staff as one of the top reasons they could be tempted to shop in-store at one retailer over another, suggesting that customer experience remains a vital aspect of brick-and-mortar business.
Customers also crave innovation from traditional retail. For instance, one in three (32 percent) Canadians said that they would use QR codes attached to in-store items that provide additional information, such as available sizes, and allow them to easily purchase online for home delivery.
“Canadian consumers enjoy being pampered by staff at the store, but they want options,” said Suzana Colic, a retail consulting leader at Accenture in Canada. “They understand the advantages and efficiencies that technology brings to the shopping experience, and they want to be able to choose between the two.”
Canadians are increasingly conscientious shoppers
Sustainability and responsibility continue to be a clear focus for Canadian shoppers, both in-store and online. Four in 10 (40 percent) said they will opt for green or environmentally friendly packaging and deliveries, 44 percent said they plan to seek out products that come in reusable or refillable packaging, and 58 percent said they intend to buy more locally sourced products and from local retailers in the next six to 12 months.
Another emerging trend is Canadians choosing to support diverse retailers, with 32 percent reporting that they will be shopping at BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour)-owned stores.
“Half of Gen Zs are likely to support BIPOC businesses, along with 45 percent of younger millennials and 40 percent of older millennials. This suggests the number of Canadian shoppers looking to purposefully support diversity in retailers is likely to grow with time – a trend that retailers need to continuously watch,” said Colic.
Other key findings from the survey:
- Manufacturing matters: The events of the past year have caused a third (32 percent) of consumers to worry about not getting what they want and need in time for the holidays. As a result, the same percentage (32 percent) plan to buy items made in Canada in an attempt to avoid import delays and supply-chain issues.
- Holiday travel is back: 58 percent say said they plan to travel during the holiday season, be it a local trip (24 percent), a domestic vacation (19 percent) or travelling abroad (14 percent).
About the survey
The Accenture Holiday Shopping Survey offers insights into consumer buying patterns during the holiday time period, providing an indication of retail performance expectations both in-store and online at a key time for the sector. For this year’s study, Accenture conducted an online survey of a representative sample of 1,514 Canadian consumers, each of whom had purchased an item for personal use either online or in a store within the previous six months. Respondents were split between gender and across age groups, with 8 percent being Generation Zers (aged 18-24), 14 percent younger millennials (25-31), 15 percent older millennials (32-39), 23 percent Generation Xers (40-55), 24 percent baby boomers (56-69) and 17 percent aged 70+.