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Half of Canadian Internet users now shop online once a month: poll

TORONTO - Almost half of Canada's Internet users are now shopping online at least once a month, suggests a new report.

About 87 per cent of the Canadian respondents in an online poll conducted for PricewaterhouseCoopers said they shop online at least once a year, while 49 per cent said they do so on a monthly basis.

Of the minority who are still not interested in doing any kind of shopping online, just over half said it's because they're concerned about the security of their personal data.

Citing that reason for avoiding web shopping was up 10 percentage points compared to a similar survey conducted for the firm a year earlier.

In January, MasterCard's SpendingPulse reported that Canadian e-commerce spending in December represented 7.8 per cent of total retail sales, a new high. For 2013, e-commerce sales in Canada were up by 2.3 per cent.

The PricewaterhouseCoopers poll also found that respondents were using their mobile devices more often to shop.

About one in four online shoppers said they used a tablet to buy something from a web store in 2013 (up about 20 per cent from a year earlier) and almost one in three used a smartphone (up about 25 per cent).

Of those who said they don't shop on their smartphone, 38 per cent said it was because of security concerns while 36 per cent said their device's screen was too small to enjoy online shopping.

When asked how retailers could improve the in-store shopping experience, 47 per cent of the respondents said they wanted easy access to inventory data for the store's website or other locations.

About 28 per cent wanted sales associates to have the technology to process transactions anywhere in the store and 27 per cent wanted access to free WiFi with an easy log-in process.

The online poll with 1,002 Canadians was conducted in July and August.

The polling industry's professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population like traditional telephone polls.

The Canadian Press

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