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Canadians Shop on Their Smartphones, Then Buy In-Store – GfK’s FutureBuy®

For Canadian shoppers, the brick-and-mortar experience still holds a strong appeal.

GfK’s latest FutureBuy® report – tracking shopping habits in 35 countries and 18 product categories – shows Canadians lagging in some digital shopping behaviors and attitudes.

But more than four in ten (43%) Canadian shoppers report researching a product online via their smartphones and then purchasing in-store – a phenomenon known as “webrooming.” This compares to a global average of 41%, and a US score of 38%.

For more insights from FutureBuy 2017, write to [email protected].

In addition, over one-third (38%) of Canadian shoppers say they have used a “click-and-collect” service, and 35% say they expect to rely on these offerings more in the future. Click-and-collect allows shoppers to buy online and then pick up their items at a store or drop box.

Mobile shopping growing more slowly

Although the US recorded strong growth in “omnishopping” – combined in-person and online shopping – for everyday items, Canada’s scores were 5 to 7 points below global averages. Canadian shoppers are also much less likely to agree with key attitudinal statements about online shopping, such as:

  • “I can shop for 100% of the products I need online” – 29% of Canadian shoppers agree (versus 47% globally)
  • “My mobile device is quickly becoming my most important shopping tool” – 23% agreement in Canada (38% globally)

Among Canadian shoppers who chose to purchase a product in store, rather than online, more than half (52%) cited being able to see the item before buying as the main reason. In addition, 44% of in-store purchasers liked the idea of getting the product sooner.

By contrast, when Canadian shoppers chose to buy online, saving money was the dominant reason, mentioned by nearly half (48%).

“Canadians are clearly becoming smartphone aficionados – but they still value the immediacy and hands-on interaction of the store experience,” said Chris Thorne, Vice President of Research at GfK Canada. “We can see webrooming and click-and-collect as two aspects of their preference for the in-person component. This offers a powerful opportunity for Canadian retailers to provide shoppers with the tactile engagement they crave. It also means that online and in-store experiences must be seamlessly integrated, now more than ever.”

About FutureBuy®

GfK’s annual FutureBuy study measures the shifting interactions of digital and in-person activities in the shopper experience, tracking essential trends such as “showrooming” and “webrooming.” In 2017, FutureBuy covers 35 countries and 18 major product categories, from beauty and personal care products to major appliances to financial services. Ideal for sales, category, and brand managers, as well as strategic planners, FutureBuy insights are available in off-the-shelf country reports, custom reports, and through the GfK Connect portal.

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