December 16, 2010, 1:27 PM

For Canadians, shopping online beats a cross-border trek to U.S. stores

That’s why 21% of Canadians surveyed shopped online during Thanksgiving weekend.

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Drawn by retailers’ deals during the United States’ Thanksgiving weekend, 9.3% of Canadians surveyed by Canadian research firm Synovate crossed the border to shop during that time. But deals on the Internet proved an even stronger draw, with 21% of those surveyed saying they had shopped online.

 “It appears that some Canadians find the retail offering in Canada fall short and feel that online shopping meets their needs,” says the report.

35.7% of Canadians who shopped online during that weekend, which is a holiday weekend in the United States, but not Canada, did so because U.S. online retailers offered better prices for the same goods than physical stores did. 29.3% said shopped at U.S. web sites to get products that they don’t have access to in bricks-and-mortar stores.

Those perceptions were a factor in Canadians’ visits to U.S. stores as well. Of Canadians who travelled to the U.S. to shop, 62.5% said they did so because U.S. bricks-and-mortar retailers offered better prices for the same goods than Canadian stores. 38.4% said they crossed the border for brands or retailers they did not have access to in Canada and 35.7% said they sought unique products they could not find at home.

The survey also found men were more likely to have shopped online during Thanksgiving weekend, with 26.2% of men surveyed saying they’d done so compared to 16.1% of women.  Canadians who shopped in U.S. stores during that period spent more–between C$200 ($198.78) and C$1,000 ($993.64)—than those shopping online, who spent an estimated C$200 ($198.78) to C$499 ($495.83) in total during that time period. “It’s no surprise that the cross-border shoppers spent more—they made the effort to travel to shop and cross the border itself,” says Kaileen Millard-Ruff, vice president, retail, at Synovate. The survey was conducted online from Dec. 2 to Dec. 6 with 1,019 Canadians.

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