Monday, November 28, 2011
Are Canadian online deals better than U.S.?
But once duties, shipping and brokerage fees are added, the final price at the U.S. retailer is $309.49. Thus, the Canadian site is the better deal.
That’s the conclusion a visitor to bingshopping.ca would reach.
The site is one of a growing number of online comparison shopping sites that help take the guesswork out of cross-border shopping on the Web.
At least half of Canadians are planning to do some of their holiday gift buying online, according to recent surveys done for financial and other institutions.
Many will be enticed to start today, on Cyber Monday, when online retailers put out some of their best deals.
Much like Black Friday, the biggest in-store shopping day of the year, Cyber Monday is an American concept. It falls on the Monday after U.S. Thanksgiving weekend, when shoppers who still have something left to spend check out the deals online.
Like Black Friday, Cyber Monday has caught on in Canada.
Cyber Monday sales last year topped $1 billion across North America for the first time, a 16 per cent increase over the previous year.
An estimated 80 per cent of Canadian online retailers plan to participate in the even this year, according to clearlycontacts.ca
“We will have some exciting offers for this holiday’s most must-haves with huge savings in every department,” said Elliott Chun, spokesperson for Future Shop Canada.
Other major Canadian retailers that plan to run Cyber Monday specials include the Bay department store, Toys R Us Canada, Sport Chek and Home Depot Canada.
Even the online bank, ING Direct, says it plans to “put money on sale” today, offering customers specials on some of its products, such as a cash bonus for taking out a mortgage.
Many are offering free shipping during the holidays on eligible products above a certain threshold.
More American retailers are also targeting the Canadian online market, according to PayPal Canada.
“Savvy Canadian shoppers know you no longer have to drive across the border and survive the mayhem of Black Friday to get the best deals on gifts this holiday season,” PayPal’s head of marketing Nicky Mezzo said in a statement.
UPS, the parcel delivery service, says its surveys show one in five Canadians will shop across the border on Cyber Monday.
Consumers’ main motive for shopping online is to avoid crowds, save time or find deals, the various surveys found.
“Everybody’s looking for a deal even in luxury products and experiential gifts. People want to get it at the best price possible. Also, time is of the essence. People have many things going on, in addition to work and family obligations,” said Afiya Francisco, a personal shopper and style commentator for stylehouse.ca.
Francisco said sites like bingshopping.ca help take the guesswork out of cross-border orders.
“I know some people are afraid to shop online because they’re afraid of getting hit with shipping and duty,” she said. “Here you can see exactly what your final cost will be. I can see how much you’d save if you stick with a Canadian site versus a U.S. site and vice versa.”
Sometimes the U.S. site has the better deal.
A Garmin GPS retails for $299.98 plus $18 shipping from a Canadian website, according to a recent bingshopping.ca search. But the same item is on sale at a U.S. website for $157.49 with free shipping.
Canada’s online market isn’t growing as dramatically as some other countries, said Derek Szeto, founder and general manager of Redflagdeals.com, Canada’s largest online bargain shopping site.
“We’re not as apt to shop online. It may be 84 per cent of Canadian shop online where in other developed countries it’s in the 90s,” Szeto said. However, he expects online shopping in Canada will continue to grow, noting group buying sites now rake in up to $250 million a year in sales.
Items that are selling well include the Harry Potter DVDs, the iPhone 4S, the iPad and various eBook readers.
Sites like his that offer group coupons or daily deals are also starting to offer products as well as services, Szeto said, which can make an attractive gift.
“It used to be restaurants, spas, and other services, things you’d buy and use yourself. It’s not that attractive as a gift because the recipient can see you paid $30 for $60 worth of services. Now, they’re expanding into products. You can buy it and ship it directly to them. The recipient doesn’t see the discount,” Szeto said.
The top categories on Canadian’s online shopping lists are clothing (eBay) and entertainment (American Express), followed by electronics, toys and gift cards.
More men shop online than women, though women are catching up, BMO said. Men buy mainly consumer electronics.
Price comparison websites