The “buy local” mentality is not only benefitting bricks-and-mortar shops in Canada, according to research from PayPal Canada, but e-tailers and their social media marketing departments too.

The digital payments company conducted its study in collaboration with Ipsos ahead of Black Friday and found that three out of four Canadian shoppers plan to buy holiday gifts online from Canadian retailers instead of buying from U.S. or international websites, with 43 per cent of those people planning to buy more gifts from Canadian retailers than they did last year. Millennials, meanwhile, are even more apt to buy online from a domestic e-tail site – 83 per cent, in fact.

So why is it cool to shop online in Canada now? The PayPal study uncovered a number of factors driving the trend. More than half of respondents – 56 per cent – said they want to support local businesses and the economy. Canada’s low dollar is also playing a role in their decision, with 44 per cent citing unfavourable exchange rates. About half also want to avoid the cost of international shipping, taxes and duties, while 32 per cent say they prefer goods that are made in Canada.

Social media platforms are also influencing e-commerce habits of Canadians, according to the study, as shoppers are warming up to the idea of “social commerce” – that is, buying directly from an advertisement on a social media platform. One in four respondents had already engaged in social commerce and 54 per cent said they would consider it.

One of the reasons Canadians are becoming so comfortable with social commerce is that we are the most plugged-in social media users in the world, according to PayPal. We spend an average of two hours and 19 minutes on social media platforms every day, and with the growing popularity of “Shop Now” and “Buy” buttons, it’s easy for us to purchase products without leaving our social media accounts.

In addition, shoppers are using social media to help them evaluate products and services, often by connecting with friends, family and peers for feedback, but also after being enticed to buy directly through social media platforms through discounts and promotions, which 56 per cent of respondents said would prompt them to consider social commerce. PayPal also found that 32 per cent would buy via social commerce if they’d already purchased a particular brand before, while 45 per cent would make a purchase through social media if the item advertised would make a good holiday gift.

One thing they aren’t doing all that much is making purchases based on influencer marketing: only seven per cent of online shoppers would consider a celebrity-endorsed item on social media. When comes to e-commerce, it looks like Canadians aren’t all that worried about keeping up with the Kardashians.

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