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Christmas Shopping Survey

Canadian consumer expectations for holiday shopping exceed today's mobile shopping experience survey finds

Only 2% of Canadians will do most of their shopping on mobile apps or mobile-enabled websites; More than 70% would download retailer's app if it made their holiday shopping easier and nearly half of Canadians would shop in-store on Christmas Day

Toronto - Canadian consumers want a more mobile shopping experience, but retailers aren't keeping up with their needs, leaving them to buy gifts on more traditional channels such as stores and computers, Accenture's 2015 Holiday Shopping Survey reveals. In fact, nearly half enjoy in-store shopping so much that they are open to shopping right through Christmas.

Despite living in a nation with some of the highest smartphone use per capita in the world, only two percent of Canadian respondents will do the majority of their holiday shopping through mobile apps or mobile-enabled websites. That's not for lack of interest: many said they were interested in mobile apps and mobile-enabled websites to shop for holiday gifts and help them monitor their loyalty points (61 percent), receive and use promotions (54 percent), and scan items in their cart (49 percent) to keep a running total so there are no surprises at check-out.

Further, 70 percent of Canadians say they could be convinced to download a retailer's app, with the most important incentives being the ability to view their loyalty program (35 percent), locate items in store (31 percent), and access to personalized offers and coupons (29 percent).

"The way Canadians think about shopping for the holidays is changing, and retailers must offer a more enhanced mobile browsing and shopping experience to drive sales at the busiest time of year," said Robin Sahota, Managing Director, Retail at Accenture. "Consumer demand is still high: more than a third are planning to spend even more this year than last year—and they even want to shop on Christmas Day."

Consumers are willing to spend more than last year on their holiday shopping, and for nearly half (49 percent), hunting for deals in-store shouldn't take a day off—not even on Christmas. In addition, 34 percent of Canadian respondents are planning to spend more on their holiday shopping this year than the previous year, a 13 percent jump from Accenture's 2014 survey.

Top reasons consumers avoid shopping on a smartphone or tablet are privacy or security concerns (38 percent), frustration with retail sites that are not optimized for mobile browsing (28 percent), and difficulty finding products on sites or apps (18 percent). The top reasons for shopping with a smartphone or tablet were cited as being able to stay out of crowded stores (57 percent), find better discounts/deals (56 percent), and convenience (47 percent).

"This season, consumers are looking for a mobile app that is a holiday shopping companion, rather than simply a way to buy things as they would on a laptop," said Kelly Askew, Managing Director, Retail Strategy at Accenture. "The better the customer journey is through the seamless integration of their mobile, online and in-store experiences, the greater the opportunity to win them over and make their holiday shopping a positive time for them."

The survey showed the current Canadian mobile shopping experience is not good enough to replace in-store shopping, which is preferred by 62 percent of respondents. However 58 percent said they don't like long lines and crowds in-store, 40 percent said the stores are too far, 36 percent are frustrated by a lack of inventory/options in a physical store, 32 percent said they dislike parking challenges, and 25 percent said they just don't have time to shop in store.

Canadians are willing to share their personal information with retailers if it means they have a better retail experience through promotional offers. Sixty-eight percent say coupons or discounts would entice them to share more personal information with retailers, and loyalty rewards are also popular, with 55 percent of respondents prepared to share information for them.

When it comes to timing their purchases, Canadian consumers perceive Black Friday to be the day with the best deals (37 percent), followed by Boxing Day (25 percent) and Cyber Monday (11 percent). However, more shoppers say they plan to shop on Boxing Day (64 percent) than Black Friday (60 percent). Cyber Monday still hasn't fully caught on with Canadian shoppers, with only 31 percent say they plan to shop on the first Monday after U.S. Thanksgiving.

"The tradition of Boxing Day, and the opportunity to buy items for themselves or their household, may be why we are seeing consumers still flock to stores on December 26, even though only a quarter of consumers believe this is when the best deals can be found," said Mr. Sahota.

Only 27 percent said they would travel to the U.S. to shop, compared to 24 percent last year. Thirty-one percent of shoppers cited the weak Canadian dollar as their reason for staying put to shop this year.

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