Micro-Moments Now: Why expectations for "right now" are on the rise in Canada

Lisa Gevelber, Erica Fitzpatrick / December 2017

Canadian consumers are making decisions faster than ever before, and they expect to be able to act on those decisions instantly. We as marketers can make it even easier for people to get things done, says Google’s VP of marketing for the Americas, Lisa Gevelber.

Impatience, immediate action, instant gratification, and even some impulsiveness—these are just a handful of descriptors for consumer behaviour today. We have all been empowered and emboldened by information. With our phones acting as supercomputers in our pockets, we can find, learn, do, and buy whenever the need arises—or the whim strikes.

This ability to get things done in the moment—paired with the fact that brands are getting better at delivering speedy, frictionless mobile experiences—is driving expectations higher than ever.

Since 82% of smartphone owners used a search engine as the first step to fulfilling at least one of their needs,1 we dug into search data to better understand what this shifting consumer behaviour looks like, and how it affects all of us as marketers. Here’s what we found.

Canadians are making on-the-spot decisions

People are searching at the exact moment they need something and are looking for places that can meet their immediate needs. In other words, when making these on-the-spot decisions, they are more loyal to their needs than to any particular place. Canadians’ search interest in ”open now” has more than tripled since 2015.2


Canadians expect to get products and services immediately

In some ways, we have all come to expect instant information. But expecting the actual product or service right away? That’s the new normal. Mobile searches related to “same day shipping” have grown by 160% since 20153 as people are no longer willing to wait even a few days for orders to arrive.

Canadians want to know exactly where they can go to get the things they need.

New research shows that with phones as their “anywhere” assistants, shoppers increasingly turn to mobile to determine which stores they should visit to get what they need—trading time spent browsing in stores for time researching on their devices before they leave home. Mobile searches for “where to shop” and “where to buy” have grown by more than 100% over the past two years, with queries like “where to buy ugly Christmas sweater,” “where to buy cards,” and “where to buy gift boxes.”2 Shoppers are willing to invest their time researching gift ideas and where to buy them. But when they’ve made a decision and are ready to make a purchase, they want shopping assistance that’s fast and frictionless—whether it’s online or in-store.

How brands can keep pace

Your consumers are going to be everyone from Plan-Ahead Pete to Impromptu Ilana and Last-Minute Larry. But regardless of their personal organizational habits, their expectations are all the same—they want to get what they want when they want it.

Ultimately, that means Canadian marketers must commit to the creation of incredible mobile experiences. Fast and frictionless are now table stakes, and the basics—like load time—can make or break you. In fact, 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load.4 But we aren’t there yet—in the U.S., the average mobile site takes 22 seconds to fully load.5 We've actually seen that for every one-second delay in site load time, conversions fall by 12%.6 To test your mobile site’s speed, give Test My Site a spin. It even provides instant recommendations to make your mobile site more instant.

Canadian consumers have higher expectations than ever for right here, right now experiences. We'll continue to share additional insights about their search behaviours as well as creative examples from brands who are effectively winning them over.

Lisa Gevelber

Lisa Gevelber

VP, Marketing for the Americas at Google

View Lisa's biography here.


Erica Fitzpatrick

Brand Marketing Google Canada

Sources (6)

1 Google/Purchased Digital Diary, "How Consumers Solve Their Needs in the Moment," representative sample of Canadian smartphone users=1,011, responses=23,088, needs=12,672, smartphone users by need type= [Buy] 894; [Do] 711; [Go] 807; [Know] 681, purchasers by need type=[Buy] 676; [Do] 275; [Go] 465; [Know] 231, April 2017.

2 Source: Google Trends June 2015 vs. June 2017. U.S.

3 Google Data Jan.-June 2017 vs. Jan.-Jun 2015. Canada.

4 Google Data, Aggregated, anonymized Analytics data from a sample of mWeb sites opted into sharing benchmark data, n=3.7K, Global, March 2016.

5 Google Research, Webpagetest.org, Global, sample of more than 900,000 mWeb sites across Fortune 1000 and Small Medium Businesses. Testing was performed using Chrome and emulating a Nexus 5 device on a globally representative 3G connection. 1.6Mbps download speed, 300ms Round-Trip Time (RTT). Tested on EC2 on m3.medium instances, similar in performance to high-end smartphones, Jan. 2017.

6 SOASTA, "The State of Online Retail Performance," April 2017.

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Micro-Moments Now: Why you should be the adviser Canadian consumers are searching for