November 03, 2016

Majority of Canadian Consumers Say Retailer’s Reputation Important to Their Purchasing Decisions This Holiday Season, Annual Accenture Survey Reveals

Optimism, spending on the rise; consumers increasingly value digital experiences

Black Friday growing in popularity; now more popular in Canada than in US

TORONTO; Nov. 3, 2016 – Canadian consumers will be guided by their conscience when making purchasing decisions this holiday shopping season and will consider a retailer’s reputation for working conditions, buying policies, community involvement and ethics before opening up their wallets, according to Accenture’s annual Accenture Canada Holiday Shopping Survey.

The survey—now in its fifth year—found that a large majority (77 percent) of Canadian shoppers said a retailer’s reputation is important when making their purchasing decisions, with more than one-quarter (27 percent) saying they consider reputation to be extremely important.

“Building both trust and respect are the major themes this holiday shopping season,” said Kelly Askew, managing director of Accenture’s Retail Strategy practice in Canada. “Retailers need to be efficient, innovative and responsible in how they do business in order to gain consumers’ trust. Brands must also respect their customers’ time and help them make purchases more easily if they don’t want customers to leave and shop elsewhere.”

The survey also examined frustrations stopping consumers from shopping at physical stores or online. The main frustration preventing Canadian consumers from purchasing goods in-store more often is long lines, cited by 51 percent of respondents. On average, Canadian shoppers are willing to wait six minutes in a queue before giving up, and two-thirds (65 percent) of Canadians abandon their purchase after 10 minutes. Additionally, 41 percent of shoppers said they would leave a store if there are long check-out lines to buy online instead. Not being able to handle the product, as well as shipping issues, are the top frustrations that prevent consumers from buying more goods online, cited by 55 percent and 44 percent of respondents respectively.

According to the survey, Canadian consumers plan to do a majority of their holiday shopping in a physical store rather than online. Increasingly, they value digital interaction with retailers, and online shopping is increasing in popularity. The number of respondents who said they plan to do the majority of their holiday shopping online increased 15 percent this year, to 38 percent, versus 33 percent last year. In addition, the number of Canadians who prefer in-store shopping fell 15 percent since last year, from 62 percent to 53 percent this year.

The results of the survey showed consumers increasingly use the two channels together in order to find the best deals. The percentage of consumers using their smartphones in-store to compare prices rose 20 percent, to 41 percent, from 34 percent a year ago, while mobile use was popular for those seeking loyalty points (61 percent) and real-time promotion prices (52 percent). Approximately three-quarters (74 percent) of shoppers said they plan to partake in ‘showrooming’—i.e., visiting a store in person to review a product before purchasing it online—and approximately the same amount (76 percent) said they plan on ‘webrooming’—i.e., shopping for a product online before buying it in a brick-and-mortar retail store.

“Canadian consumers will use their smartphones as a digital companion to in-store shopping this holiday shopping season and expect retailers to offer a seamless experience that bridges both channels,” said Robin Sahota, managing director of Accenture’s Retail practice in Canada. “Applications that collect loyalty points and offer promotions are particularly popular because they let consumers save while eliminating the need to carry loyalty cards or coupons.”

Among the additional trends identified by the survey:

Increasing Optimism about Personal Finances, Consumers Likely to Spend More but Appear Loyal to Local Brands

Black Friday and Boxing Day Shopping Plans

The Accenture Canada Holiday Shopping Survey offers insights into consumer buying patterns during the holiday period, providing an indication of retail performance expectations both on the high street and online at a key time for the sector. This year’s survey was conducted online Sept. 12-23 using a representative sample of 1,500 consumers across Toronto, Montreal and Calgary.

About Accenture
Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions – underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network – Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With approximately 384,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Visit us at

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Theresa Ebden
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