The rise of online stores in the US and Canada
The pandemic and resulting lockdowns had a huge impact on consumer behaviour around the world. Several stores closed down in the U.S. and Canada when stepping out to purchase basic necessities posed serious health risks. This scenario completely shifted the norm of shopping in America and Canada and led to the rise in online shopping.
Although the last two years have resulted in drastic changes, online shopping has been popular since long before. The digital age has made its mark in the two nations and changed the way business is conducted. Both the U.S. and Canada are hailed for their advanced technology, which impacts everything from education to business. This also influences the way citizens live and conduct their everyday life.
The boom of online retail market in the USA
The US has the largest smartphone market in the world with a total of 290 million users. This means nearly 85% of Americans have access to e-commerce sites and rely on them for browsing goods and services.
While brick-and-mortar stores have continued to be a preferred shopping experience, comfort and accessibility have turned American customers towards online stores. E-commerce stores like Amazon have already made their mark in the US market with customer-centric approaches. This global giant in particular offers everything from groceries to electronics under one virtual roof.
Amazon alone is responsible for 40% of the total e-commerce spending of American citizens. Along with this multinational company, there are several other online stores in the U.S. such as Walmart, eBay and Target.
Considering that online retail market estimated to reach 6.5 trillion U.S. dollars in the coming years, as per Statista, it is evident that online shopping will continue to dominate the market in times to come.
Canadians also lead the way with their digital audience. Nearly 90% of Canadian citizens use the internet and there were 27 million e-commerce users as of 2021.
The recent pandemic has been a huge catalyst for this change as it made businesses realise the importance of online stores. Canadian citizens also had to fully resort to online shopping amid lockdown measures and found to their delight that this method is easy and reliable. Having products delivered straight to your doorstep saves both time and money, hence it is a convenient and sometimes cheaper way to shop.
It therefore comes as no surprise that as per the International Trade Administration, e-commerce sales in Canada in 2021 reached US $15.1 billion and this number is predicted to reach US $40.3 billion dollars by 2025!
Understanding American and Canadian consumers
Long before the pandemic, American customers preferred online shopping, especially during the holiday season. As per an American Barometer Survey in 2018, 58% of U.S. shoppers took the online route for buying gifts and other products during the holiday season.
For them, buying products online makes for a smooth and efficient shopping experience as you can check which store has cheaper products from the comfort of your home. At the click of a button, you can browse the entire catalogue at Target or Walmart avoiding all the queues!
Similarly, Canadian consumers indulge more in online shopping during fourth quarter holidays. Though, both American and Canadian consumers, especially the millennials and Gen Z, are increasingly reliant on e-commerce. Being a more digital-savvy generation, they prefer to browse and shop on their smartphones.
Impact of digital marketing
Another factor that impacts the customers of the two nations is digital marketing. Businesses are completely rebranding themselves in the new era and rely on digital ads to access customers.
Young customers are more likely to come across digital ads or even make their purchases based on what their friends or favourite social media influencers are using.
Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter are extremely popular amongst Canadian millennials and much of their purchasing behaviour is impacted by what they see online. Having easy one-click access to e-commerce sites makes it easier for them to purchase the product they come across online.
Similarly, American millennials comprised 20.2% of all online shoppers in the US in February 2020 alone.
Canadian as well as American shoppers are drifting towards online shopping which is boosting the growth of e-commerce in both countries. This trend is also making waves globally and setting the stage for a digitalized way of shopping.
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