With families still struggling to find jobs, they are spending increasingly more time online shopping for clothes and accessories for their loved ones.
In Ontario, it’s not unusual to see people with kids on shopping sprees in a number of local shopping malls.
“It’s like, ‘Oh my god, I can’t wait to go shopping with my daughter today,'” said Linda Taylor, a former retail clerk at a mall in Ottawa.
In the city of Toronto, a recent study of family shopping patterns found that between 2012 and 2016, shopping in the family-owned and family-operated stores in the city increased by over 60 per cent.
A growing number of parents are choosing to shop online to save time.
A 2015 survey of parents by the Canada Research Council found that half of Canadians are “regular shoppers” or spend more than half of their household budget online.
But the cost of the new technology is also getting a little bit more complicated.
“There’s a lot of confusion about how to spend your money,” said Joanna Ducharme, the director of the Canadian Family Business Association’s retail research group.
The industry is also grappling with the cost to consumers of the more complex products that come with the new software.
Many of the items being purchased online aren’t designed to be as expensive as the old ones.
Many are products that can be bought online without a physical store, but are designed to fit a person’s budget.
“We’re going to see a lot more of those products in the next year or two,” said Duchorme.
For the average Canadian, that means online shopping can often be a way to save money.
“People can’t just spend money online,” said Laura Roesel, the founder and CEO of online marketplace FamilyShop.
“They have to be able to shop at home, they have to have money to spend and then they can spend that money on a product or services that are available online.”
“They’re spending their time and energy on these things that are a little less sophisticated and a little more expensive,” she added.
With the growing number and variety of products available, the cost can also get a little complicated for families.
“I think there’s going to be a lot less of the things that you can shop for that you’re not going to get if you buy it online,” she said.
Duchorre said the industry needs to make the products they offer available to everyone.
“You can’t really go into the store and buy something that’s going be too expensive, but you can get it in the grocery store and the hardware store and then you can go into a store and just buy it,” she explained.