Digital Journal — If you live in British Columbia in a household with an income of $70,000 or more, and prefer to make travel arrangements online, then you’re the ideal candidate to purchase stuff online.
According to Statistics Canada, Canadians ordered more than $7.9-million worth of goods and services in 2005 through nearly 50 million orders. Residents of Alberta and B.C. are more likely to go online to point-and-click for popular tasks such as managing travel trips, buying books, and ordering concert tickets.
Also, the recent survey found that people in higher-income homes are more likely to shop online: 52 per cent of households with incomes of $70,000 or more reported online purchases compared with 32 per cent where household income dipped below $70,000.
But not every Web wanderer opened their wallet to e-tailers like Amazon. An estimated 9.2 million Canadians used the Internet to window-shop last year. These just-looking folks browsed for electronics, housewares, cars and real estate.
The survey’s results should come as no surprise to anyone regularly trawling the Web for quick purchases. The popularity of online shopping means more companies will shift their catalogues to the Web to better accommodate a generation accustomed to scrolling through pages rather than dog-earing them.
But a bit of perspective is required: the $7.9 billion of online purchases last year is just a fraction of the $762 billion of normal goods and services Canadians bought last year. E-commerce is not going to overpower bricks-and-mortar malls anytime soon.
If the tide does shift dramatically, though, the Web will be another destination for consumers frustrated by lengthy phone calls with customer service and long drives to the suburban strip mall on the edge of town. What may precipitate that change is the potential for the Web 2.0’s community-building structure to ripple through e-commerce. Picture MySpace merging with Expedia to create a beast that would revolutionize online shopping. Now that’s a scenario that could boost the $7.9 billion to an astronomical number.