Canadians Embrace Physical Retail More than Americans: Study

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Despite the growing popularity of online shopping, physical retail space remains the most popular destination for consumers looking for good options – even more so for Canadians than Americans.

The 2019 Summer Shopping Habits Survey and 2019 Summer Dining Habits Survey, developed by Lightspeed, found that physical retail is still the most prevalent form of shopping for Canadians at 47 per cent and Americans at 36 per cent.

“There is an immediacy and personalization to in-store shopping that consumers cannot experience when shopping online. When looking at physical retail, consumers get a more organic and interactive experience, where they can try out the product for themselves, whether it’s a sweater or a bicycle, and without the worry of delivery timing,” said Dax Dasilva, Founder and CEO of Lightspeed.

“Loyalty programs are also an important contribution to positive in-store experiences for frequent customers. Lightspeed Loyalty was designed with the consumer in mind, informing them of in-store offerings custom to their interests and helping them earn perks from their favourite locations that they may not have access to online.

“This data that Canadians have a strong preference for shopping in store is a prime example of how retailers can apply the knowledge gained here to their business. For example, it could offer American retailers with locations north of the border the opportunity to tailor their in-store operations more towards Canadian customers – whether that is through loyalty programs or added ease in payment solutions.”

Lightspeed is a leading provider of omnichannel point of sale software, solutions and support systems for over 49,000 independent retailers and restaurants.

Here are some of the other key findings from Lightspeed’s survey: 

  • Over half of North Americans spend up to $250 per summer shopping trip: 52 per cent of Canadians and 53 per cent of Americans drop between $50 to $250 per shopping excursion;
  • Food quality is the most important factor to a positive dining experience: Nearly 60 per cent of North Americans stated that food quality is their most important consideration for a positive dining experience, followed by customer service for Americans, and price for Canadians;
  • North Americans are spending most of their summer money on food: Both Canadians (41 per cent) and Americans (42 per cent) spend the most money on food during the summer, followed by clothing and apparel, supplies for hobbies and home furnishings;
  • Americans spend more in the winter, Canadians spend more in the summer: Over 36 per cent of Canadians spend the most money on shopping and dining in the summer, whereas over 36 per cent of Americans spend the most in the winter; and
  • The majority of North Americans anticipate spending hundreds of dollars per summer month on eating out: 28 per cent of both Canadians and Americans believe they will spend between $100-$300 at foodservice establishments per month between June and August.

“Summer is definitely a season for socializing, and one of the most social activities for the season is enjoying the nice weather and a delicious meal with friends. Our survey showed us that almost 40 per cent of North Americans will eat out one to two times a week at places like patios, cafés, fine dining restaurants and more, with approximately 16 per cent basing their decision of where to eat on the people they are with,” said Dasilva.

“One of the main factors North American diners noted in relation to a positive dining experience is food quality. An important way Lightspeed helps restaurateurs ensure they are offering their guests the best experience is through solutions like Lightspeed Analytics, which allows them to organize and analyze everything for their restaurant in one place: from inventory to customer loyalty to staff performance, optimizing the data for a positive dining experience.”

The 2019 Summer Shopping Habits Survey and 2019 Summer Dining Habits Survey each polled approximately 2,000 consumers, equally divided between the U.S. and Canada, with the goal of generating a deeper understanding of consumers’ shopping and dining behaviour during the summer season.

“We launched this survey to reveal meaningful information about shopping and dining habits in summer 2019 to enable businesses to make better decisions this season catered specifically to their customers,” added Dasilva.

Lightspeed is a cloud-based commerce platform powering small and medium-sized businesses in over 100 countries around the world. With smart, scalable, and dependable point of sale systems, it’s an all-in-one solution that helps restaurants and retailers sell across channels, manage operations, engage with consumers, accept payments, and grow their business. Headquartered in Montréal, Canada, Lightspeed has grown to over 700 employees, with offices in Canada, USA, Europe, and Australia.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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