Posted: 2:23 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013
By Mark Haar, Director, Consumer Electronics, NPD Canada
E-Commerce that is! One thing is for certain; when it comes to the Consumer Electronics industry in Canada, more and more Canadians are deciding that buying online is the way to go. According to NPD Canada’s Consumer Tracking Service, most CE category share of online purchases has increased. Two of the categories making the largest gains are TVs and cameras. Television e-commerce sales nearly doubled over the past two years, jumping from 6 percent in 2011 to 11 percent in 2013 and cameras increased from 9 percent to 16 percent over that same timeframe.
While those share growth rates are impressive, the absolute share of online purchasing for CE products is still relatively low compared with other product categories (e.g., non-athletic shoe sales at approximately 26 percent). I, for one, am not surprised for the simple reason that buying technology products can be a scary prospect for consumers, especially those not accustomed to online purchasing. According to the latest NPD E-Commerce Channel report, one major obstacle to consumers making online purchases of consumer electronics is the need or desire to talk to a salesperson. While shoppers are increasingly using product review websites to gather pertinent information, nothing beats being able to talk to a representative who can help them navigate the vast array of products that seem to offer remarkable innovation at dizzying speeds.
Having said all that, the momentum does continue to shift rapidly toward the online buying landscape for consumer electronics products. And my personal evidence comes from my mother (whose age I promised not to reveal here); just last week, she purchased an e-reader online, and she did it all by herself. Very impressive!