Be speedy, be helpful: What we learned from Canadian shoppers in 2018

Sarah Bradley / February 2019

We know that 2018 was the year of the curious, demanding and impatient consumer. With their mobile devices in hand, they are expecting to get what they want quickly and easily.

Having a solid grasp on this challenging Canadian shopper will be essential this year, too. The good news is, their behaviour and habits throughout 2018 showed us how to reach them best. Here are some of the key lessons we learned from Canadian shoppers.

They’re on mobile, and ready to buy

This past holiday period showed us that Canadians are increasingly using their phones to shop. In November, 45% said their online holiday purchases had been made on a smartphone. More than half said they’d used apps to shop, with a third of those saying they downloaded new apps over the 2018 holiday season1.

consumer holiday purchases smartphones - Canadian consumers 2018

Search is also proving helpful in evaluating what to buy. When searching on their phones, 79% of Canadians say that they can get a better idea of what they want to buy, and 66% now say they have discovered a new company or product that way - up from 59% in 20182.

These insights show us that mobile isn’t just a mechanism for browsing anymore. It’s essential in making purchase decisions.

They’re always shopping, in multiple categories

This year, it’s important to ensure you have a well-thought-out always-on strategy, because 86% of Canadians are shopping for something at any given time3. You should also think about complementary products, as they are doing all this shopping in up to five different categories over just a two-day period3!

If they’re not actively buying, they’re thinking about it and researching: toward the end of last year, 62% of Canadians said they were thinking about future purchases4, and a similar amount say they’ve researched a purchase in just the past two days5.

86% of Canadians are shopping for something

They want it to be easy

It can’t be stressed enough: Canadians want what you’re selling, but you have to make it easy for them to find and purchase what they’re looking for.

They enjoy going to the store as well as shopping online, but increasingly they notice friction: 43% say they wish retailers would do a better job at sharing inventory information. Additionally, 1 in 3 shoppers who used search before going to the store said they searched for something in-store related — such as items in stock near them, store hours, wait times and contact information7.

1 in 3 shoppers use search

They welcome your recommendations

Returning customers are looking for recommendations based on what they previously purchased from you. You’ll be poised to win if you can use the data you have to delight them.

In fact, 76% of smartphone users say they are more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites or apps offer them discounts or promotions on items they may be interested in, based on their previous purchases8. Similarly 62% say they are more likely to purchase from companies that offer them relevant recommendations on mobile for products they might like9.

“Returning customers are looking for recommendations based on what they previously purchased from you.”

Given that Canadians are shopping for many things at once, in different stages, offering them related items while they’re browsing would be a great way to help them before they have to ask for it.

As you build your 2019 plan remember: Canadians are using mobile to shop and expecting brands to deliver seamless, helpful, personalized experiences whenever they land on a site. Use these learnings to implement a digital strategy that will help you win over your customers.

Want to upgrade your in-store experience? Here’s what you can do