Canadians Increase Online Spending During Holiday Season: Ipsos-Reid

Typical Canadian Online Gift Shopper Spent $228 Online During 2004 Holiday Season

January 27, 2005 Calgary, AB � After back-to-back years of flat online gift shopping, Canadians increased their online gift purchasing during the 2004 holiday season, according to a new study from Ipsos-Reid, Canada�s leading public opinion and marketing research company. Just over 3.5 million Canadian adults purchased at least one gift online, up from 2.2 million in 2003. This represents an increase of 59%.

�After a couple of poor years it appears that Canadians warmed up to online gift purchasing in 2004,� said Chris Ferneyhough, Vice-President at Ipsos-Reid�s Calgary office. �If online retailers capitalize on this strong momentum, it could be a banner year for online shopping in 2005.�

The increase of Canadian online gift purchasing in 2004 bested figures released out of the U.S., which indicate that online shopping south of border increased 29% this past holiday season.

�Typically we lag the U.S. when it comes to online shopping,� said Ferneyhough. �But it appears that we made some ground this most recent holiday season, though we still have a ways to go before online shopping can be considered as popular here as it is in the U.S.�

The incidence of adults with Internet access having ever made an online purchase hit a new tracking high of 56%, which is up from 47% this time last year and 39% in 2002. This figure is equivalent to 44% of all Canadian adults having made at least one purchase directly online.

Additionally, among those who have ever made a purchase online, 33% purchased at least one gift online during the holiday season, which is up from 26% in both 2003 and 2002.

The typical Canadian purchasing gifts online during the 2004 holiday season spent $228, which is actually down slightly from 2003 when the average online shopper spent $247 on gifts, and down from 2002 when the average amount spent on gifts was $267. However, the increase in incidence of online shopping in general, online gift purchasing, and a slight increase in Internet access offset the decrease in average amount spent.

�With so many new online shoppers purchasing gifts online this past holiday season, it is logical that the average amount spent decreased,� said Ferneyhough. �New shoppers likely weren�t prepared to place all of their faith in online shopping just yet, so they likely only bought one or two items online to see how it went. A stronger Canadian dollar likely also contributed to the decrease in average amount spent online.�

For the first time since Ipsos-Reid began tracking online gift purchasing, books are not the clear cut favourite among online shoppers. Clothes were just as popular (29% vs. 28%), and DVDs or movies didn�t trail by much (25%).

The vast majority of online shoppers from the past holiday season say that they are �very likely� to purchase online for gifts next holiday season (77%) with only 2% saying they are unlikely.

�The key is convincing people to try online shopping for gifts just once,� noted Ferneyhough. �Once their expectations are met, which they largely were this most recent season, then people will keep coming back and enjoying the convenience of shopping online rather than battling traffic and people at busy malls.�


Ipsos-Reid is Canada’s market intelligence leader and the country�s leading provider of public opinion research. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos-Reid employs more than 300 researcher professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in Canada, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and on-line panels. Ipsos-Reid�s Canadian marketing research and public affairs practices are staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, offering the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada�including the Ipsos Trend Report, the leading source of public opinion in the country�all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Ipsos-Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

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