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Holiday Shopping - Canada - August 2015

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Published Date : Aug 2015

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Holiday shopping represents the most lucrative time of year for retailers across all categories, much of it driven by Christmas. For the upcoming holidays, nine of 10 Canadians will be buying gifts.


What you need to know

Executive Summary

The issues
Canadians’ enthusiasm for Black Friday and Cyber Monday is soft
Figure 1: Approach to holiday shopping, June 2015
Engaging the less affluent household or budget-minded consumer
Figure 2: Shopped for Christmas, by household income, June 2015
An aging population implies new marketing strategies may be required
Figure 3: Occasions shopped for (purchased items for any holidays in 2014), by age, June 2015
The opportunities
Promoting gift cards: The most desired and most likely gift to be given
Figure 4: Categories desired and will purchase, June 2015
Elevating Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve as celebrations to prepare for
Figure 5: Occasions shopped for, June 2015
Making holiday shopping more accessible for the less affluent or budget-conscious consumer
Figure 6: Attitudes towards using coupons or discounts during holiday season (any agree), by household income, June 2015
Creating value through means other than discounts
What we think

The Market – What You Need to Know

The population is unevenly dispersed and ethnically diverse
An aging population implies shifts in marketing of holidays may be in order
Spending habits will shift due to the economy
A weak Canadian dollar impacts consumers and retailers
Shopping opportunities are increasing and spreading across platforms

Market Factors

The population is unevenly dispersed and ethnically diverse
Figure 7: Share of population of Canada, by territory/province, 2014
Canada’s population is aging and will continue to do so in the coming years
Figure 8: Population aged 65 years and over in Canada, historical and projected (% of total), 1971-2061
Age is impacting labour force participation
Figure 9: Canada’s unemployment rate, by gender, January 2008-January 2015
Recent economic activities have negatively impacted consumer confidence
Figure 10: Household disposable incomes and savings in Canada, by quarter, Q4 2008-Q4 2014
Canadians are facing record high levels of household debt
A weaker Canadian dollar will impact shopping both consumers and retailers
Figure 11: Exchange rate (CAD>USD/GBP), January 2008-January 2015
Shopping opportunities are abundant across platforms
Figure 12: Total number of shopping centres in Canada, 2001-12
Figure 13: Retail e-commerce sales in Canada (in billion US dollars), 2012-17

Key Players – What You Need to Know

Holiday advertising efforts typically go back to basics
Canada’s retail landscape is changing
Innovations will shape in-store and online shopping

What’s Working?

Holiday campaigns often go back to basic emotions and traditions
A focus on tradition: Coca-Cola
Make them laugh: Kate Spade
Holidays are about giving: WestJet

What’s Changing?

Canada’s retail landscape sees many upcoming changes
Hudson’s Bay Company will be going high end with Saks Fifth Avenue acquisition
La Maison Simons set for expansion across Canada
Holt Renfrew is in flux
Nordstrom has settled into Calgary and opened its second location in Ottawa
Other international entrants on the way: Uniqlo and Bloomingdale’s
More merchants will be going online
Square Reader (Square Register App)

What’s Next?

The evolving role of store experiences
Elevating the in-store experience: Eataly
Online retailers open brick and mortar shops: Frank & Oak
Taking the experience outside the shop: Walmart
Online shopping gets more convenient
Taking the hassle out of shipping: Walmart
Pick-up services are becoming available: Penguin Pick-Up
Buy buttons on social media

The Consumer – What You Need to Know

Holiday shopping primarily revolves around Christmas
Gift cards dominate as the most desired and most likely gift to be given
Canadians are divided in terms of when they start holiday shopping
Regardless of the platform, consumers are open to suggestions
Money-saving strategies will be weighed against choosing the “right” presents

Holiday Shopping Occasions

Canadians are engaged holiday/seasonal shoppers
Figure 14: Occasions shopped for, June 2015
Over four out of five Canadians shopped for Christmas
Christmas for less affluent households may mean fewer gifts
Figure 15: Shopped for Christmas, by household income, June 2015
Income may be impacting Quebecers
Families and immigrants are celebrating Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve
Chinese New Year is an important shopping occasion for Chinese Canadians

Giving and Receiving Gifts

Gift cards and clothing and footwear top the list for desired gifts and planned purchases
Figure 16: Categories desired and will purchase, June 2015
Gift giving may be simplified with the popularity of gift cards
Clothing and footwear retailers have an attentive audience with women under-55 and moms
Alcoholic beverages are of interest to men and the more affluent
Electronics see greater interest from men under 55, Millennial women and Chinese Canadians
Consumers will also celebrate by buying food, drinks and decorations
Big ticket items are of interest to under-55s

The 2015 Holiday Shopper Profile

Women and parents will be the primary shoppers for holiday gifts
Figure 17: Will purchase gifts (any) for others this holiday season, by gender, presence of children, and belonging to LGBT community, June 2015
Benefits aplenty for targeting LGBT shoppers
Targeting Chinese Canadians will be worthwhile for marketers during Chinese New Year
Holiday shoppers will be buying for others, but also for themselves

Approach to Holiday Shopping

Canadians are divided in terms of when they start holiday shopping
Figure 18: Approach to holiday shopping, June 2015
Women and older men are year-round shoppers
Figure 19: Agreement with “I try to avoid the crowds when doing my holiday shopping” (any agree), by age and gender, June 2015
Millennials, men, Quebecers and parents of teens are more last minute
Opportunities abound for Cyber Monday and Black Friday
Leveraging technology to aid the in-store shopping experience

Going Online for Holiday Shopping

Four out of five holiday shoppers will be going online
Figure 20: Proportion of online shopping, June 2015
The power of persuasion
Figure 21: Agreement with the notion that online suggestions often lead to a purchase (any agree), by age, June 2015
Free shipping is a determining factor
Figure 22: Preference for shopping from online retailers that offer free shipping (any agree), by age and gender, June 2015
Options explored if no free shipping is available – a qualitative look

Holiday Shopping In-store

Shoppers will be primarily buying gifts in-store
Figure 23: Proportion of online shopping, June 2015
Holiday in-store displays will influence spontaneous purchases
Figure 24: Attitudes towards holiday in-store displays (any agree), by age and presence of children, June 2015
The in-store experience still plays a large role
The desire for customer care – A qualitative look
Regardless of channel, retailers with the “hottest” items will be noticed – particularly among Millennial men, fathers and Chinese Canadians

Budget versus Buying the Right Gift

Holiday shoppers will balance choosing the “right” presents against budgetary constraints
Figure 25: Attitudes towards holiday shopping (selected statements), June 2015
Money-saving strategies will be employed
Figure 26: Attitudes towards holiday shopping (selected statements), June 2015
Shoppers are paying attention to ads and actively scouting for promotions
Actively seeking deals – A qualitative look
Consumers actively seeking deals calls for a multi-channel approach from retailers
Year-round shopping may be a strategy to ensure the right gifts are bought for recipients at a reasonable price
Value-adds can mean more than price cuts or discounts

Target Groups

Four target groups
Figure 27: Target groups for holiday shopping, June 2015
Budget Focused Mothers (33%)
Holiday Shopping Enthusiasts (30%)
Big Ticket Purchasers (25%)
The Older Shopper (12%)

Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

Data sources
Consumer survey data
Consumer qualitative research
Abbreviations and terms

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