Fashion and technology key categories influencing e-commerce growth
TORONTO, October 21, 2013 – Canadian consumers have high expectations when online shopping and discounted pricing is often the determining factor in the decision to ‘proceed to checkout’. According to the recent E-Commerce Channel Report from leading global information company The NPD Group, 63 per cent of Canadians have opted to shop online in the past six months to save money, with fashion accessories, footwear and electronics consistently top sellers.
Though both sexes are motivated by price tags, men research and expect discounts when shopping online, while women take additional factors into account. Time saved and previous visits to the physical store play a role in females cashing out and, in the end, they are more likely than men to actually go through with a purchase.
“Unlike men, women assume online prices will be similar to those in stores, and this expectation is instrumental in their significant contribution to the clothing, accessory and footwear purchases driving the e-commerce fashion category,” said Sandy Silva, fashion industry analyst, The NPD Group. “However, though much of women’s shopping occurs with Canadian retailers, it is not uncommon for these consumers to seek out international websites for greater product selection.”
Canadian websites shipping from Canada are the primary source of purchases for all categories, however, in addition to clothing, IT Software, digital downloads, toys/games, health & wellness, and video games see sizeable purchase incidences from U.S. retailers. Further, the battle for lower prices and increased selection is being driven by what the industry describes as ‘Online Super Buyers’, or consumers who make frequent online purchases and thus account for a disproportionate share of e-commerce. This group makes up 31 per cent of online shoppers and remains the strongest influencers of Canadian e-commerce trends.
Younger consumers are also becoming savvier web shoppers, as 85 per cent between the ages of 18 and 24 have spent less than $200 online in the past six months. Unlike younger shoppers, ‘Online Tier Shoppers’, who tend to be from an older demographic and make up 29 per cent of online sales, typically only make a purchase once every six months despite their willingness to conduct extensive research within many categories of interest. Across the board, however, the top-performing categories with the strongest online purchase incidences include books (52 per cent), DVDs/music (48 per cent), clothing (38 per cent) and video games (37 per cent).
“With e-readers and portable electronics among the top-intended purchases for Canadian consumers, and video game hardware, cellular accessories and digital cameras of increased interest , online technology retailers have a clear opportunity for growth,” said Mark Haar, director of Consumer Electronics, The NPD Group. “That being said, while the intention is there, many consumers choose not to move forward with their online transactions due to additional costs and perceived security risks that retailers should work to address.”
Despite the annual increase in shoppers making online purchases, limitations affecting consumer spending is slowing down the e-commerce industry. The most unavoidable disincentives are lack of personal interaction with salespeople, and the need to see and touch products, however additional shipping costs and risky return processes are also deterrents across all groups. Canadian retailers that can offer – and effectively market – free shipping, discounted pricing and safe transactions will increase overall sales, and even attract those consumers who would typically shop in store.