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As a fashion consultant, Lidie Wolfman has always enjoyed going out to shop but fears over contracting the coronavirus put a quick halt to that.

As a retiree, she knew she was in a high-risk group, but she also knew she didn’t want to depend on anyone to get her the everyday essentials she needed to feel comfortable at home.

“I certainly didn’t grow up using the internet but I knew if I wanted to stay healthy at home, I would have to get comfortable with online shopping fast,” she said from her home in Vaughan. “Shopping online for everything from groceries to new pyjamas to cleaning supplies has been pretty easy – easier than I expected actually. I found some new stores and just ordered something very cool for my backyard that’s going to make my summer at home even more enjoyable.”

Wolfman is one of many Canadians who have not only shifted their shopping behaviours because of COVID-19, but who plan to keep shopping online once the pandemic passes.

In a recent poll by Angus Reid, commissioned by PayPal Canada, 81 per cent of Canadian respondents said they would keep shopping online either the same amount or more in the coming months. More than 40 per cent said they would be shopping more.

“It’s so easy and I like that I can order bigger, heavier items and it will be delivered to my door,” Wolfman said, pointing to the patio furniture she just purchased. “Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to go out and enjoy myself with family and friends but I like the fact that shopping online helps gets rid of the ‘have to do’ so that I have more time for the things I want to do.”

Sylvie Moryoussef, a Toronto-based translator, said she’s always been an online shopper but she has relied on it more heavily in the last few months out of convenience and necessity.

“I paint as a hobby and I was worried about getting art supplies after non-essential businesses were mandated to shut down. I found a few shops online and I’m grateful because socially distancing is hard enough without having a creative outlet to help you cope,” she said.

Aside from art supplies, Moryoussef says she has also recently started shopping online for groceries – something she had never tried before.

“I can’t believe I haven’t done this sooner!” she said laughing. “Who wants to lug a bunch of groceries home? I log on to Walmart.ca in between Zoom work meetings during the day. I like that I can add to my list to make sure I don’t forget anything.”

Moryoussef isn’t alone. Online grocery sales have seen a significant surge. Before COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic in mid-March, the survey found only 1 in 5 respondents bought their groceries online rather than in person. Now, nearly a third are now buying groceries online – an increase of 67 per cent. Online purchases of household supplies have also jumped 41 per cent, toiletry sales are up 33 per cent, and entertainment, games, and toy sales have increased by 18 per cent, while 77 per cent of Canadians say they’re making fewer in-store purchases.

Interestingly, the survey also found that 39 per cent of Canadians who don’t shop online are concerned about entering their financial information on the internet.

Back in April, Walmart became the first retailer in Canada that sells groceries to accept PayPal, a move that has helped put customers at ease about the security of their payment information. Using PayPal means people never have to share their credit card or bank information directly with a business or online shop.

“We are proud to be the first Canadian retailer that sells groceries to offer PayPal, making online shopping more accessible for more Canadians,” said Alexis Lanternier, Executive Vice-President of eCommerce for Walmart Canada. “PayPal has a long-standing reputation as a safe and trusted payment provider and together, we’re helping Canadians shop for the products they need right now.”

Other iconic brands using PayPal for online payments include Roots, Zara, Best Buy, Indigo, The Bay, Ikea, Lowe’s, Toys ‘R’ Us, Wayfair and more.