Canadians prefer Canadian content and they are loyal to Canadian information and e-commerce sites, according to a study done by the Angus Reid Group.
The study showed that Canadians are more likely to visit Canadian sites over American sites for world news, financial and sports news. Cost is also a key reason for seeking Canadian e-commerce, although 86 per cent say they do so because they want to keep money in Canada.
“We thought it would be an interesting topic to cover because of how many American sites there are for all these types of information vs. Canadian sites. We thought it would be interesting to see if there is a Canadian loyalty factor, if people are indeed going to these sites and if so what are the reasons for doing so,” said Chris Ferneyhough, senior research manager for Vancouver-based Angus Reid Group.
Ferneyhough said he was quite surprised at how loyal Canadians are to dot-ca sites, and Canadian sites in general.
“With the number of American sites out there and the number of American sites that get the media coverage, it’s good to see that Canadians are going out and finding Canadian sites and using them on a consistent basis,” Ferneyhough said. “With radio and television, we’ve got the CRTC that’s supposed to be regulating what we’re watching and specifying that there is a certain amount that has to be Canadian content. We don’t need to do that with the Internet – it’s unregulated. But, Canadians are still going to Canadian sites and reading Canadian content.”
According to Ferneyhough, the study is based on the thoughts of 1,084 on-line Canadians who are members of a Canadian Internet panel, which represents 20,000 households across Canada.
Among Canadians who visit Web sites that include world news, 45 per cent generally go to Canadian sites vs. 7 per cent who go to American sites. The pattern remains similar among those visit sites that offer financial news (51 per cent prefer Canadian sites compared to 4 per cent who prefer American sites) and those who visit sites that offer sports news (36 per cent generally go to Canadian sites vs.10 per cent who prefer American sites).
“Cost was a major issue, the exchange, the duty, the shipping. Even though it is a major issue that is driving people to purchase from Canadian sites, it’s good to see that the reason that so many people do it is because they just want to keep their dollars in Canada,” Ferneyhough said.
Not all Canadians agree, however.
“I can’t speak for the population in general, but I don’t have any such loyalty,” said Larry Karnis, CIPS member and president of Brampton, Ont.-based Application Enhancements Inc. “I do a modest amount of business on the Internet and when I do, it’s usually to a site which has what I need when I need it, and can get it to me in a reasonable amount of time at a reasonable cost.”
Karnis said the major e-commerce sites that he deals with are equally polished.
“If you pick on Chapters and you pick on Amazon, I don’t really perceive any benefit of using Chapters over Amazon or vice versa, except for the fact that Chapters will deliver the book without having to cross the border and will charge me in Canadian dollars,” Karnis said. “The fact is both of those companies are going to charge near full retail for the book. I don’t know if it’s so much that (Canadians) feel an overwhelming sense of loyalty to Canada and want to keep our money here. I think it’s just that they are afraid of being charged in U.S. dollars.”
Karnis said he feels that Americans tend to be faster adapters to technology than Canadians are.
“I’m not saying Canadians are technophobes, it’s just that when new things come out it tends to break the American market first and then Canadians tend to look at what succeeded, as opposed to being slightly more risk-oriented.”