Canadians Still Cautious about Shopping Online

With almost 90% of Canadians now using the internet, it’s no surprise that e-commerce is on the rise in this country. Yet lingering concerns over cyber and mobile security mean the majority of shoppers still prefer spending their dollars at the mall rather than online – making secure payment options a priority for online retailers.

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Consumers worry about credit card security

Statistics Canada reports that Canucks spent $18.9 billion online in 2012, with new research indicating steady growth in the e-commerce sector over the next decade. Nevertheless we continue to have a preference for traditional brick-and-mortar experience over the internet – spending around $450 billion in-store each year according to Industry Canada.

Many consumers simply prefer the immediacy of in-person shopping, seeing it as a way to avoid ill-fitting clothing or faulty products. But concern about cyber security is also clearly fueling this vast discrepancy in our spending habits. A recent study conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of Visa Canada reveals that 48% of Canadian credit card holders worry about falling victim to fraud while shopping online. The study also shows that two thirds of us (68%) are more focused on security while we shop than on convenience or speed.

Online retailers offering alternative payment methods

These figures have left e-businesses scratching their heads over how to put cyber customers at ease. Increasingly, retailers are offering consumers alternative payment methods to credit cards at the checkout. Pre-paid cards are a popular solution appearing across the Canadian e-commerce landscape. With a paysafecard, for instance, shoppers aren’t required to share personal data with online retailers. This can eliminate the risk of identity theft or other fraudulent behavior.

It remains to be seen, however, whether these strategies can lure Canadians away from their beloved malls back to the comfort of their own homes. But the verdict is clear: online businesses need to focus on security if they want to make a significant dent in the country’s competitive retail market.