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In a few of our past blogs, we have commented on the fact that Canadians are growing more concerned with online scams. Identity theft taking place over the internet seems to be a disturbingly increasing trend. Studies have shown that many Canadians do not feel comfortable doing any banking online.
Interestingly, the same thing cannot be said about shopping online. According to a report from QMI Agency’s Stefania Moretti from earlier today, online shopping is growing in popularity among Canadian consumers. Revealing the findings of a Statistics Canada study, Moretti notes that approximately 39 per cent of Canadians aged 16 and older bought goods and services with the help of the internet last year.
Upwards of $15 billion dollars were spent in 2009, which is a 7 per cent spike in online sales from 2007 when $12.8 billion dollars were spent through online shopping. Intriguingly, however, the cost of the average transaction has actually lowered, suggesting that Canadians are becoming a bit more cautious about the type of spending they are doing online.
According to StatsCan, the average transaction fell to $158 in 2009 from $183 in 2007. Larry McKeown of Statistics Canada cites the economic downturn as one of the factors that may have turned out this result. Moretti notes that retail sales overall dipped by 2.5 per cent in 2009.
McKeown also mentions that young people are helping to popularize the online shopping trend. Growing up using the internet and entering their “income earning years”, today’s younger generation is bound to increase their comfort level with online shopping. Everyday inexpensive items appear to be the most popular so far.
One of the best examples, says Moretti, is the iTunes music sale. For just 99 cents, online shoppers are growing their music collections one mp3 download at a time. She writes that “online music sales accounted for 26% of online purchases last year, up from 22% in 2007, and that number is likely higher among younger shoppers.”
For those who fear that online shopping may threaten the old practice of walking into an actual store to buy goods, fear not, says StatsCan. They report that “the internet complements traditional retail for certain categories such as consumer electronics, appliances and furniture, as well as clothing, jewellery and accessories.”