According to Statistics Canada, the value of orders placed online in Canada was $18.9 billion dollars. Yes, you read that right, BILLION! This value has increased by at least 50% since 2010, the survey was conducted in 2012. 77% of respondents indicated that they did some research on goods and services or window shopped online.
Most people in the Statistics Canada survey, 58%, purchased travel related goods such as hotel reservations and flights. This is interesting, because with the ease of purchasing flights on the internet, will places like Flight Centre be obsolete? I don’t know if it will because my mother still uses travel agencies, and she prefers it to buying a ticket online. I think that sometimes travel agents can find you a good deal too, especially for places like all-inclusive vacations. I personally don’t use them at all when I purchase international tickets or tickets without any packages included.
If you like infographics, here is a good one related to Canadian internet shopping habits.
I personally have had bad/ mediocre experiences buying clothes online just because they never fit properly when I receive them and I am just too lazy or have too little time to ship it back and return them.
Here are some pros advocating for why I prefer shopping online:
Not Having to Deal with Pushy Sales People
As an introvert I don’t really like to make small talk. Although meeting sales people in stores is nice, I will ask for help when I need to. I am pretty vulnerable to pushy sales people, but I think I have gotten much better over the years and can stand my ground. Sometimes I do feel bad when I waste a sales person’s time and don’t buy anything. The inverse is true, sometimes when you go to a place like Canadian Tire or The Bay, you will be hard pressed to actually find a sales person to talk to and ask questions from!
Being Able to be Less Impulsive
I must admit, I can be impulsive. When things are on sale I have very little will power. Sample sales, warehouse sales, and outlets are the bane of my existence. Therefore, when I am not faced with temptation I can do my research online and go in with what I want. The last time I was actually in a mall was about 6 months ago. I find the bright lights and marketing a bit disorienting and prefer shopping on streets with shops instead.
I find that when you get to read reviews of products, it is very helpful and can help curb the impulse. One of my favourite places to shop online is Amazon.com or sometimes Amazon.ca and Chapters Indigo.
Shop on Your Own Time
The other great thing about shopping online is that you can shop on your own time. I can shop or browse at 10pm if I want to. I think it’s just more efficient.
Cons to Shopping Online
One con to shopping online is that I tend to be a very tactile person, and I do enjoy the experience of shopping in person. That’s why I usually only purchase books, electronics, household goods online and save my clothes shopping to in-person.
Another thing to think about, when purchasing things online is about how this affects small business owners, and more importantly, how it affects the environment. The packaging, the boxes, and all the transportation involved in sending and shipping online is quite a bit, I’m sure!
Security breach is another one. I recently shopped at Well.ca and although I was quite pleased with my purchase and how cheap it was, I was quite annoyed when I received a letter a few weeks later indicating that they had a security breach and although it didn’t affect my account, I should change all my credit card passwords.
That environmental impact akes you think twice before ordering a $3.95 bottle of hand wash online to get shipped to you.
Readers, do you shop online? If so, what are your favourite online e-shops to browse and purchase from?