Beautiful woman shopping online for Christmas.

Hiring for the holiday rush? Make sure your online store is well staffed. A new American Express Canada survey says a full 56% of Canadians plan to shop online for holiday gifts this season—a 5% increase over last year.

It seems most Canadians aren’t fond of the lengthy lineups and parking-lot challenges now synonymous with the season. In fact, nearly a quarter (23%) said they’d rather clean their toilets than visit the mall the week before Christmas, and 10% said they’d prefer to work than shop in malls this season.

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The Canadian fondness for clicking and spending is not restricted to the holiday season, however. A full 88% of those surveyed say they’ve shopped online in the past year. Of those shoppers, 39% said avoiding crowded malls was their main motivation, and the same number claimed better access to retailers when buying online. Half cited the ease and convenience of shopping from work or home, while 51% said they shop online to find better deals.

“Time is always precious, but at the holidays it’s at even more of a premium,” says Colin Temple, vice-president and general manager of merchant services at American Express Canada. “Between holiday entertaining and events, visiting with family and friends, and winter travel, there never seems to be enough time to do everything you’d like.”

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Choosing a retailer, selecting merchandise and making a purchase can be quick propositions online, but gift wrap and distribution can also be taken care of with the click of a mouse, points out Temple. “What we’re seeing is that Canadians are embracing online shopping not only because of the time it saves them from standing in line, but because it’s easy to browse gift options and then have purchases delivered right where they need to go.”

The Amex poll suggests the top trends for online spending this year are entertainment-related purchases (57%), electronics (39%), clothing and accessories (38%) and, of course, toys (28%).

Retailers and web developers take note: Among those who chose not to shop online, 60% say security is the primary concern.

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