14% of Canadian commuters are already engaged in this trend and 76% would consider it if mobile shopping options were easily available

A new benchmark study from PayPal Canada and Ipsos reveals that Commuter Commerce, a new shopping behaviour where people shop from their mobile phones while on public transport, is a new retail trend in Canada. Today, 14% of mobile connected commuters shop while in transit, and three in four Canadians (76%) would consider buying a wide range of products if mobile shopping options were easily available. Those engaged in commuter commerce spend an average of $529 per month per person buying a range of items from movie tickets to clothing, shoes and accessories. With 4G LTE cellphone connectivity on buses, streetcars and above ground trains, and more Wi-Fi options on public transport, PayPal Canada predicts that commuter commerce is poised for growth over the 2015 year-end holiday season and beyond.

“We work with a wide range of retailers to provide mobile-friendly shopping experiences for Canadians. When paying with PayPal, people don’t need to enter shipping and billing details to shop from their phones on a crowded streetcar; which is a great fit for commuters,” said Kerry Reynolds, Head of Consumer Marketing, PayPal Canada. “PayPal predicts that whether it’s gifts or groceries, commuter commerce will boom in Canada as savvy commuters use their time efficiently to shop from their smartphone while on the move.”

Shop between stops – Commuter Commerce catches on in Canada
Mobile connected commuters who have shopped while using public transport report buying movie, game or concert tickets (62%), clothing, shoes or accessories (62%), gifts for family and friends (55%), food and groceries (53%), games, gadgets and tech accessories (50%) and furniture and home décor (37%).

The future of commuter commerce is bright. Seven out of ten (71%) connected commuters agree that they would like to browse their favourite stores on their phones during their commute, while almost the same number (69%) agree that they would like to shop securely while commuting because it is a big time saver. Four in ten (43%) connected commuters would consider buying gifts for family and friends, while others would consider buying clothing, shoes and accessories (42%), movie, game or concert tickets (41%), electronics, games and tech accessories (37%), groceries or food for home delivery or pick-up (30%), or home furniture or décor (27%). Given the spread between current commuter commerce users and those receptive to it, the proportion of active commuter commerce users could increase five-fold if mobile shopping options while commuting were easily available.

When asked, what is holding them back from shopping while commuting—nearly half (45%) of connected commuters said poor or limited cellphone reception and the lack of Wi-Fi on public transport were major deterrents. Four out of ten said they were worried about security or sharing their credit card details.

The World’s Smallest Mall is in your hands—your mobile phone

On November 10th, shoppers in the Yonge and Dundas area in Toronto will be invited to hop on a PayPal branded streetcar to learn how they can get all their holiday shopping done securely from the world’s smallest mall—their mobile phone. Shoppers will be greeted with hot cocoa to warm them up. Santa will be on board for photo opportunities and to hand out holiday gifts. For four weeks, the streetcar will run on high traffic streets in Toronto and feature logos of retailers that offer secure mobile shopping experiences with PayPal like Aldo, Best Buy, Beyond the Rack, The Body Shop, Cineplex Entertainment, eBay, Etsy, Forever 21, Hudson’s Bay, Kobo, NCIX, SHOEme.CA, SHOP.CA, Sport Chek and Toys“R”Us.

Mobile commerce opportunities for retailers who get on board

The survey reveals that two in ten (21%) Canadians are regular transit users, using public transit more than 3 times a week to commute and get around. Of those who use public transit regularly, nearly half (45%) commute between 30 and 60 minutes a day and one third (33%) commute for more than one hour – leaving them with lots of time to shop online as two thirds (69%) of transit commuters are connected on their phone while commuting.

In analysing their mobile usage behaviour, connected commuters are texting (67%), checking social media, talking on their phone or listening to music (44%), playing games (41%), reading the news (38%), researching things to buy (19%) and watching videos (17%).

Commenting on this new commerce trend, Reynolds added, “While using public transport, people are constantly peering at their phones. This presents a unique opportunity for Canadian retailers to target and engage commuters with flash sales, coupons or mobile advertisements during rush hours.”

Nationally, PayPal powers online and mobile payments for over 250,000 Canadian businesses and 10 million businesses globally. One out of every four transactions that PayPal processes today is through a mobile device. The company processed $46 billion (US) in mobile payments globally in 2014. For mobile payment transactions, 42 per cent of Canadians prefer to checkout with PayPal, far ahead of the next mobile payment method chosen (25%)*.

Study Methodology

The findings are based on an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between October 15 and October 19, 2015, on behalf of PayPal. For this survey, a sample of 2,002 Canadians (293 of which are transit users who are connected to the internet with their mobile device while commuting) from Ipsos’ online panel was interviewed online. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/ – 6.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all transit riders connected to the internet with their mobile device been polled.

* Ipsos online survey of 800 Canadians between 9th September and 3rd November 2014.

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