Majority plan to do thorough research and hope to have shopping wrapped by early December
TORONTO, November 26, 2012 – Gone are the days of frantically looking for the perfect gift at 8 p.m. on December 24. According to leading market research company The NPD Group, Canadians who hope to save their pennies during the holiday season are increasingly researching their shopping options so as to avoid the sticker shock that often comes with frantic last minute shopping sprees to the mall.
The NPD Group’s 2012 Canadian Holiday Spending Survey, designed to help understand Canadian consumers’ spending intentions for the holiday season in comparison to 2011, reveals that competition for consumer dollars among retailers begins at home. Almost seven in 10 consumers plan to do plenty of pre-shopping homework, and this group will rely heavily on online research (47 per cent), consumer reviews (26 per cent) and catalogs (24 per cent) to give them the education they need to spend wisely during this expensive time of year. Further, more than half of Canadians hope to be completely finished their holiday shopping by early December.
“Calculated spending fueled by general concerns about the economy is the new normal amongst Canadian consumers, and conducting thorough product research beforehand is what protects them from spending more than they have to,” said Rick Brown, director of Analytic Solutions at The NPD Group. “Though the rise in the cross-border spending allowance by the federal government does not appear to be increasing shopping intentions in the U.S., the decision to head south is still the plan of attack for some this year and they’ll be on the lookout for big discounts.”
One in five Canadians plan to purchase holiday gifts in the U.S. this season, while the vast majority of this group (94 per cent) intend to take advantage of Black Friday’s infamous deals. For the second year in a row, however, the state of the economy is still less of a concern for Canadians than it is for Americans: one third of Canadian shoppers (33 per cent) reported that the economy will have little or no impact on their holiday shopping this season, while this sentiment is only shared by 24 per cent of American shoppers.
Further, though Canadian shopping intentions are high at mass merchandisers (50 per cent) and department stores (42 per cent), e-retailers are on the rise as a source for gifts. Up three points from last year, this category is catching up to the more traditional in-store purchases, with 20 per cent of consumers in Canada planning to take advantage of the Internet to buy presents. Also, one quarter of Canadian online shoppers report intentions to purchase gifts from U.S.-based e-retailers.
“It’s still common for Canadians to do some of their holiday shopping online because of the convenience that comes with checking out at the click of a button,” continued Brown. “Knowing this, local merchandisers are making their prices more competitive to offset the risk of losing business to American retailers on the web, and this is the best way to drive sales at this very competitive time of year.”
The shopping categories that can expect to do well in 2012 have historically thrived during the holidays. The top five gift categories for intended purchases include clothing (50 per cent), toys (34 per cent), books (29 per cent), movies (29 per cent) and food (17 per cent), and these rankings are consistent with actual holiday gift purchases in 2011.