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More Canadians turned to web for Christmas shopping as e-commerce soars: report

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TORONTO - Canadians went online to do their Christmas shopping this year more than ever before, according to a new report.

MasterCard Advisors says Canadian consumers spent $2.8 billion shopping online in December, representing about 6.6 per cent of the month's total retail sales.

December's online sales were up 26 per cent over the previous year, which didn't surprise industry watchers.

The report notes that online shopping sales in Canada have grown by at least 20 per cent for 15 consecutive months now.

When comparing online sales year-over-year, there are 43 months of consecutive growth.

"We kind of continue to be amazed by the growth rates that we see in online, it just doesn't appear to be a sales channel that's slowing down a lot," said Mike Berry, senior managing consultant for Mastercard Advisors.

There's no real end in sight to the growth of online shopping in Canada, he added.

"If we assume that perhaps the U.S. is a year or two ahead of what we're seeing in Canada, I think probably it wouldn't be surprising to see a growth rate in the range of 20 per cent — maybe not over 20 per cent — for at least another year, absent some major event in the economy," Berry said.

"Consumers are becoming more and more comfortable with the online shopping experience, even with things like shoes and clothing — if things don't fit they don't have a problem throwing it back in the box and sending it back."

According to previously reported data from debit and credit card processor Moneris Solutions, Canadian spending on Cyber Monday this year grew by 23 per cent.

Mastercard Advisors is not yet tracking mobile shopping but it's just a matter of time before that trend starts growing strong, he said.

"This is a new way for people to shop and they may end up purchasing things that they wouldn't have otherwise using their mobile devices."

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