TORONTO, ON–As COVID-19 continues to transform the retail landscape, this holiday shopping season is shaping up to be like none other. And for several reasons according to a new survey from Mastercard.

Canadian shoppers are prioritizing support of local businesses: acts that will be carried forward into the holiday season. 78 percent of Canadians participating in the holiday shopping season plan to make a conscious effort to be more mindful in where and how they shop. Specifically, more than three-quarters (79 percent) of consumers intend to support small, minority-owned (67 percent), women-owned (68 percent), and Black-owned businesses (66 percent) this year.

This mindset is further reflected in the brands Canadian consumers are prioritizing, with 80 percent planning to shop from local brands and 67 percent intending to purchase from direct-to-consumer brands. In fact, 87 percent of shoppers say they plan to shop at businesses they know and trust this year.

Consequently one item that is not on shoppers’ wish lists this year is gifts from companies that don’t share their values, with 72 percent planning to primarily shop from brands that align with their personal values.

Despite the uncertain climate, Canadian shoppers are embracing the holiday season and getting a head start. The survey found that 75 percent of Canadians are aiming to start shopping before Cyber Monday this year, with the vast majority (78 percent) saying they are likely to shop online.

Additional findings from the new Mastercard study show:

–Shorter in-store shopping visits. Although online shopping has increasingly become the preferred way for consumers to shop, two-thirds (68 percent) still plan to shop in stores at some point this season. But in-store visits will be drastically reduced, with more than half (55 percent) of Canadians anticipating conducting less in-store shopping this year.

–Changing traditions. Though it will look different, nearly half (45 percent) of Canadian shoppers are leaning into this unique holiday season as a chance to update their old traditions. The majority (72 percent) of consumers say they are looking forward to having a slower paced holiday season this year.

–Gift giving reimagined. 64 percent of respondents are opting to not give cash as a gift in favour of gift cards, and nearly half (48 percent) saying they plan to ship more gifts to their loved ones’ houses this year to avoid person-to-person contact.

–Desire for contactless. For those willing to go in-store, contactless shopping experiences will be in high demand. In fact, almost three quarters (73 percent) are planning to do their holiday shopping at stores that have contactless pay options for a safe, convenient and touch-free experience. Earlier this year, Mastercard enabled the increase of contactless payment limits to $250 across Canada.

“There’s no denying that holiday shopping will look and feel a lot different this year, especially as consumers are shopping with a new perspective and priorities,” said Sukhmani Dev, vice president, digital and cybersecurity solutions at Mastercard in Canada. “Canadians are embracing the holiday season this year with a strong desire to support local businesses and safety top of mind.”

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