Canadian Online Shopping Habits For 2015 [Study]

By December 8th, 2015

The holiday season is here, and at Search Engine People, we’re interested to learn how Canadians shop online for gifts this year — or if they will shop online at all.

We also want to uncover statistics about the emerging area of mobile purchasing. Are shoppers comfortable using their mobile device to buy gifts?

We set out to find these answers using another quick Google Consumer Survey.

SEP asked Canadians, “How will you shop online for holiday gifts this year?”

Respondents choose from the following options:

  • Using a desktop
  • Using a mobile phone or tablet
  • I will not shop online

What Did We Learn?

Over 1500 Canadians responded to our survey. Our study has uncovered a variety of interesting findings that give us insight into how Canadians will complete their holiday shopping for the 2015 season.


  • 44% of Canadians won’t shop online for holiday gifts this year 
  • One of the most notable results relates to the age of shoppers and their willingness to shop online. We found that older and younger age groups prefer to do their holiday shopping offline, while middle-aged Canadians are more likely to shop online .
  • We discovered that where a shopper lives has an impact on how they shop online. 52% of online shoppers who live in suburban areas prefer to use a desktop device, while only 36% of urban shoppers use a desktop computer.
  • Contrary to what you may have believed, 35-44 year olds are more likely to do holiday shopping via their mobile device than younger adults aged 18-24.

For more interesting findings from our online holiday shopping habits survey, check out our complete Research Summary.

What Does This Mean for You?

These results show there are a number of factors that  determine whether  Canadians shop online for holiday gifts. This makes it even more complex for online retailers how best to target their customers.

The key is to understand how your ideal customers prefer to shop. Clear insight into your buyer personas helps you adapt your website’s purchasing options and targeting to meet the needs of these shoppers.

If you discover that your audience tends to buy on a mobile device, optimize your mobile app or website for an improved shopping experience. If your service or product aims at an older audience, streamline your desktop experience instead.

Also consider how your website fits into the buying process. Does your ideal customer begin with thorough research on your product before eventually making a purchase on your site? Or, is your product more of an impulse buy or a need that requires little consideration? Answering these questions helps you determine the role the mobile device and desktop play in the online shopping process, and how to best optimize your site for each step of the process.

Future Areas of Research

As shoppers become more comfortable with the idea of purchasing items via their mobile device, it will be interesting to see how these findings change. Whether trends shift more towards mobile purchases, or preferences remain in desktop territory, these attitudes will no doubt guide how SEP advises clients in the consumer goods space.

We’d like to investigate mobile shopping habits further to answer some of the following questions:

  • What types of items would a consumer purchase via mobile, and which would they never purchase?
  • Does the price point of items purchased via mobile differ than items purchased via desktop?
  • When and where do consumers most often use their mobile device to shop?
  • How many shoppers use their mobile device in-store to compare pricing?
  • Are consumers more likely to purchase via their smartphone or tablet when a site is optimized for mobile?

Will these findings impact your marketing campaigns this holiday season? Have another digital marketing question you’d like SEP to investigate? Let us know in the comments!


Canadian Online Shopping Habits For 2015 [Study]
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