Canada Post parcel delays driving shoppers offline and back into stores, survey suggests

A recent survey shows one in four Canadians are cutting back on online shopping because of concerns over potential delivery disruptions, as Canada Post grapples with a backlog of six million parcels.

1 in 4 Canadians are cutting back on online shopping because of delivery delays, study finds

'In the next few weeks we may see more people going into stores to shop because it will suddenly be more reliable and in some ways more convenient,' said retail consultant David Ian Gray. (Katherine Holland/CBC)

Many consumers will be going offline and heading into stores this holiday season because of Canada Post's backlog of six million packages, retail analysts predict in light of a recent survey.

The study shows one in four Canadians are cutting back on online shopping because of concerns over potential delivery disruptions. 

"We don't have a benchmark to compare for other years because we haven't had any postal strikes, but that's quite a few shoppers who are saying they're shopping [online] less," said David Ian Gray, a retail consultant with DIG360.  

The survey of 1,500 Canadians was conducted by DIG360 and research marketing firm Leger in Quebec right after Black Friday. Gray says Black Friday statistics are the best indicator for holiday shopping habits. 

The survey found 27 per cent of adult Canadians reported they reduced spending online as a result of the revolving Canada Post strikes. That figure increased to 37 per cent for those under the age of 35, who the report describes as "more avid holiday shoppers online and offline."

Canada Post warns consumers it may not get parcels delivered before Christmas due to backlog of six million packages. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Gray suspects shoppers will be heading into stores instead. 

"In the next few weeks we may see more people going into stores to shop because it will suddenly be more reliable and in some ways more convenient," he said. 

Deliveries 'hampered and unpredictable'

Canada Post has warned consumers it may not get parcels delivered on time because of existing backlogs following six weeks of rotating strikes, and potential severe winter weather.

"Delivery will be hampered and unpredictable through January," said a Canada Post spokesperson in an email. 

Regular mail such as holiday letters and cards should move through the system faster. 

Canada Post says it has hired 4,000 additional season employees and added nearly 2,000 more vehicles in an effort to speed up deliveries. 

'Offline shopping'

U.S. department store Marshalls, which has 61 stores in Canada, including branches of Winners and HomeSense, has poked fun at shopping on the internet by releasing a holiday-season campaign telling people about the benefits of "offline shopping."

In a series of advertisements, the company advertised its "instant add-to-cart technology," "immediate multi-sensory feedback to discover the perfect gift," and no shipping cost.

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