11/09/2017 15:53 EST | Updated 11/09/2017 15:53 EST

Canadians Relying On Online Retailers More Than Ever For Holiday Shopping: Accenture Survey

The data also points to decreasing interest in Boxing Day deals.

New research from Accenture suggests Canadians are more reliant on online retailers than ever when it comes to holiday shopping.
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New research from Accenture suggests Canadians are more reliant on online retailers than ever when it comes to holiday shopping.

Canadians are more dependent on online retailers than ever for their holiday shopping needs, new research from Accenture Canada suggests.

Sixty-six per cent of shoppers in the firm's sixth annual holiday shopping survey said they check Amazon before looking or going anywhere else. Forty per cent said they went to Google, while 23 per cent headed to eBay.

"This year, Canadians are putting a high premium on convenience and digital when it comes to getting their holiday shopping done," Robin Sahota, managing director of Accenture's Retail practice in Canada, said in a press release.

Accenture Canada

Less than half of respondents (47 per cent) in Accenture's survey said they will be doing the majority of their shopping in-store, while 40 per cent said most of it will be done online.

Accenture's survey also asked respondents about their familiarity with smart assistant products like Google Home and Amazon's Alexa, which can also be used in online shopping. Sixty-six per cent said they would use or are using Google's device, while 61 per cent said they would use Amazon's product.

'Peak Black Friday has passed'

The poll suggests that shoppers are showing less interest in massive sales events like Boxing Day or Black Friday.

Accenture said "constant discounts" from online retailers are causing Canadians to do their holiday shopping throughout the year. Earlier in the summer, Amazon said its "Prime Day" event on July 11 was so successful it surpassed Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. (Fun fact: the Instant Pot was the highest-selling product.)

Kelly Askew, Accenture's managing director for retail strategy practice in Canada, told HuffPost Canada in an interview that "peak Black Friday has passed."

Another key finding in the poll was on the type of gifts consumers are seeking. While a healthy majority of shoppers (77 per cent) said they will be buying a product as a gift, 38 per cent said they will be purchasing an "experience gift" — like concert tickets or cooking classes, for example.

The survey also touched on how Canadians make their shopping choices. It found that 42 per cent of respondents used Facebook to make purchasing decisions, while 46 per cent relied on YouTube. Those numbers differ when broken down by age.

Noah Berger / Reuters
Workers process outgoing shipments at an Amazon Fulfillment Center on Cyber Monday in Tracy, Calif., Nov. 28, 2016.

"Mom and dad are on Facebook, and the younger people are on YouTube," Askew said.

Askew explained that shoppers could be using the social media sites to watch reviews, unboxing videos and clips where the products are used before purchasing them.

But although most results from the survey paint a picture of consumers relying on technology more than ever, there is still some​ hesitation when it comes to services like drone deliveries.

Thirty-seven per cent of respondents said they would not use drone delivery for their holiday gifts​​​, while 29 per cent said they did not understand the service.

Accenture's survey was conducted online in September with 1,500 Canadians from Montreal, Calgary and Toronto.

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