Nearly three-quarters of Canadians recently polled say they plan to start their holiday shopping earlier this year, and will use the Internet to check and compare prices before buying gifts.
The surveys by consulting firms Deloitte Canada and Ernst & Young Canada found that shoppers expect to increase their holiday spending this year by between two and 3.5 per cent. Last year, shoppers had increased their spending by less than two per cent.
Tech gadgets, toys, clothing, books, jewelry and gift cards are expected to be among the most popular gift purchases.
The Deloitte study found that just more than 40 per cent of consumers, especially those in Atlantic Canada, have already started their holiday shopping and some had been out as early as August.
Deloitte's survey found that 73 per cent of consumers check prices and research gifts online, while the EY survey found that 70 per cent of Canadians research products online before buying.
The studies don't agree, however, on how researching gifts on websites translates into online sales. The EY study found that 58 per cent buy a product online after their web research, while the Deloitte survey found that just 18 per cent of shoppers surveyed made online gift purchases.