Survey: Canadians Embracing Future-forward Payment Options

PayPal Canada released the findings of a national study Wednesday that shows Canadians are keen to embrace future-forward payment options like wearable devices and smartwatches. The study provides insight on how purchasing habits are shifting to include the use of digital and mobile payments, with close to a third of Canadians (29%) having used their mobile phone to make an online purchase and nearly a quarter (23%) having used their mobile phone at a store to make a purchase.

Conducted by Nielsen, the study polled 1,504 Canadians from September 4-19, 2014. The survey revealed enthusiasm for emerging technologies, with almost half (45%) agreeing that Canadians are ready to embrace methods such as mobile payments via wearable devices. This readiness to experience the next and the new is clear with almost one in two Canadians (47%) wishing retailers offered more safe and secure mobile payment options.

“New technologies and devices will transform our shopping and payment experience in the next five years,” said retail industry expert Doug Stephens. “The PayPal study proves that Canadians are active participants in this evolution, which gives retailers a unique opportunity to create innovative shopping experiences that go beyond in-store and online for consumers who wish to shop across all their devices, be it smartphones, smartwatches or digital wristbands.”

Key points on futuristic payments:

  • 35% of survey respondents indicate they would be likely to use an Internet-enabled car to pay for gas at the pump.
  • 22% indicate they would be likely to use an Internet-enabled fridge to shop and pay for items directly from an online grocery store.
  • 18% would be likely to use a chip implanted in a finger that allows them to simply tap to complete an in-store payment.
  • 22% say they would use facial recognition technology to pay for items in a store, or would pay for items in a store using a retina scanner.

When it comes to wearable technology or wearable devices, Canadians are showing a distinct interest. Half of Canadians (51%) have heard of wearable technology, and that awareness spikes (to 67%) when prompted with a description. According to respondents, the potential benefits of paying through wearable devices include:

  • Not having to carry a wallet or phone (32%)
  • Being hands-free (32%)
  • Not worrying about losing a device you’re wearing (29%)
  • Having everything in one place (28%).

Almost one in four respondents (23%) would be likely to use a watch or bracelet that lets them pay for in-store purchases, while only about half that number (12%) would consider Internet-enabled glasses to make in-store purchases.

With close to nine-in-ten (88%) of Canadians having made an online purchase from their computer or tablet, and 61% indicating use of the PayPal digital wallet to pay for these purchases, money is undeniably becoming digital.

Canadians who are currently not using a digital wallet are considering breaking from their traditional habits, with one in five (21%) indicating that they are likely to use a digital wallet in the next year, citing convenience as a key driver. They dislike having to re-enter personal or financial information each time they make an online purchase (55%), and they love that they save time when they use a digital wallet (51%).

Almost a third of Canadians (29%) are already using their mobile phones to make online purchase payments while on the go. Canadians who use their mobile phone to perform the following activities (at least once every few months) indicate that their usage levels have increased compared to last year:

  • 38% transfer money to family, friends or the babysitter more often
  • 37% purchase games with their mobile phone more often
  • 32% download apps, music or movies and other digital content more often
  • 25% donate money to charities more often
  • 23% already use their mobile phones to make in-store purchases.

Canadians currently using mobile payments agree that mobile transactions can be quick and effortless (65%), while 6 in 10 (62%) agree that they use it without giving it a second thought, because it’s how they pay. In addition, almost half (46%) agree that they wish they didn’t have to carry both their wallets and phones, while a third (27%) agree that they feel frustrated by people who don’t pay with their mobile phones and hold up the line using cash or credit/debit cards.

Survey findings also indicate that those who do not currently use mobile payments are intrigued and potentially open to this form of payment. Six out of 10 (59%) Canadians say they feel envious when they see other people using their mobile phone to pay in-store and wish they could do the same; 42% agree that they are curious, and want to know more about how it works.


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