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75% Of Canadians Embrace Commuter Commerce

Today, PayPal released the finding of a joint study with 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 per cent 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. Although mobile data plans in Canada continue to be one of the most expensive across the world, Canadians do love their smartphones.   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 Till You Drop, Shop Till Your Next Stop

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%).

PayPalThe new trend of commuter commerce looks to be taking off with no signs of slowing down soon. 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. 

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%).

Kerry further 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.”


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