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The Pandemic Has Changed Canadians’ Digital Habits & Here’s What It Could Mean For Businesses

Canadians are ready to break up with companies that can’t keep up digitally.
The Pandemic Has Changed Canadians’ Digital Habits & Here’s What It Could Mean For Businesses

This time last year, Canadians were flocking to the mall, gathering in Christmas markets, and getting ready to line up around the block for Black Friday deals.

But this year, many of us are likely ticking off our holiday to-do list in one of two ways: shopping online through our smartphones or computers. 

Whether we're buying food and clothes, banking, working, or learning, COVID-19 restrictions have meant that most of us are relying on digital services more than ever.

According to the TD New Digital Customer Study, 63% of Canadians surveyed have made online purchases more frequently than ever before since the onset of the pandemic — and 68% plan to continue.

But those surveyed haven't just increased their use of digital services — their expectations have increased as well.

So, what does the survey reveal about respondents' expectations now? In short, those people are ready to break up with companies who can’t keep up, digitally speaking.

As we spend more time online and at home, here's what respondents are saying they want and need from businesses, according to the survey by TD.

We Think Easy-To-Use Websites Are Key

You may not judge a book by its cover, but there's a good chance that you'll judge a business by its website.

Whether it's slow loading times, poor mobile design, or too many pop-ups, you've probably come across a website that's left you frustrated and perhaps wanting to take your business elsewhere.

According to the survey conducted by TD, 73% of respondents say an easy-to-use website was the most significant factor when engaging with companies digitally.

This is especially significant when considering that 62% admit they now spend over 11 hours a day online.

We're Doing More Than Just Shopping Online

The influx in online shopping during the coronavirus pandemic was inevitable due to safety restrictions, but as the recent TD survey shows, Canadian respondents have been quick to adjust other aspects of their day-to-day routine to digital experiences.

The study reveals that those surveyed have increasingly turned to digital for experiences beyond commerce, exploring new online services like virtual therapy sessions and consultations with a family physician (37%), virtual exercise programs (32%) and adult learning classes (26%).

The study also shows that Canadians surveyed are now supporting small businesses more than before and using digital to do so:

  • 47% say they've shifted their shopping habits and now purchase more from small, local businesses than they did before the pandemic.
  • 57% say that local businesses in their communities now offer more digital shopping/service options than they did before the onset of COVID-19; the same percentage also say they plan to continue to purchase goods and services from small, local businesses through their digital shopping options beyond the pandemic.

The uptick in digital engagement isn’t going anywhere – 68% of those surveyed say they plan to continue accessing digital platforms more than they did before COVID-19.

We Want Companies To Adapt With Us

The general consensus? If businesses can't adapt to the new normal, then Canadian consumers might spend their money elsewhere with a business that does.

The ever-changing landscape of the pandemic has forced Canadians to change their shopping and living habits — and TD found that most individuals surveyed want companies to do the same.

In fact, 80% expect organizations to keep up with changing technology to ensure better customer experiences as everyone adjusts to a new normal.

Identifying what shoppers need and adapting to create products and tools that offer authentic digital experiences — like TD EasyWeb online banking — will be essential if businesses want to move forward in these difficult times.

“We saw customer engagement and expectations shift with the onset of the pandemic,” says Rizwan Khalfan, Chief Digital & Payments Officer, TD Bank Group.

“Our strong digital foundation made it possible for us to pivot quickly when our customers needed us most and we were able to increase our digital capacity for customer-facing capabilities. Now, more than half of TD customers actively engage with our digital service offerings.”

But We're Willing To Try New Things

From curbside pickup to new delivery apps, 68% of Canadians who participated in a McKinsey survey said they've already tried a new shopping behaviour since the pandemic started, and they're open to new ideas and digital services from companies.

To reduce physical exposure to others, those surveyed by Deloitte indicated they were more willing to try new technologies like contactless payments, non-contact delivery options, virtual reality, and — wait for it — even in-store robots.

In the post-pandemic, digitally connected world where more time is being spent online, new digital habits aren't going anywhere.

“We always want to be there for our customers, regardless of how they want to bank, whether that's online, in our branches, or by phone. Our digital offerings are just one of many ways TD is delivering for its customers. Our goal has always been to innovate in ways that help empower our customers with personalized, digital experiences,” says Khalfan.

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To learn more about how TD Canada is innovating in the digital space, visit their website.

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