Monday, July 16, 2007

Canada E-Commerce Continues to Grow  



Sites are popping up in the Great White North.

Canadian retail e-commerce just tallied its fifth straight year of double-digit growth, yet online sales still account for less than 1% of the total retail market, according to Statistics Canada's "2006 Survey of Electronic Commerce and Technology."

Nearly half of Canadian retail firms now have a Web site, compared to the 42% that did in 2005. The percentage is even higher among companies with 100 employees or more, of which 88% have a Web site.Online sales more than doubled in Canada from 2003-2006. eMarketer expects the
average amount that Canadians spend online will grow strongly over the next three years. Seasoned online buyers (rather than new ones) will drive overall market growth.E-Commerce* in Canada, by Sector, 2003-2006 (millions of C$)

What do Canadians buy online?

J.C. Williams compared Canadian and US online consumer behavior. Canadians are either on par or ahead of their US peers in purchasing electronics, travel and event tickets online. Canadians lag behind in the purchasing of clothing, music and videos, gifts and toys.
Average Annual Amount Spent Online* by Online Buyers in Canada Ages 18+, 2005-2009 (% increase** vs. prior year)
Jeffrey Grau predicts that "it is only a matter of time before Canada's B2C e-commerce market lives up to its potential. The country is a world leader in Internet adoption, time spent online and electronic banking and bill payment."

Mr. Grau also notes that "plenty of consumers are held back from online shopping because they do not want to pay for shipping or they are concerned that it will be difficult to return an item purchased online if it fails to meet expectations." Multi-channel retailers can avoid this by offering in-store pickup and returns, he says.

Product Categories Purchased Online in the Past Six Months by Online Buyers in Canada vs. the US, April 2006 (% of respondents)

Read eMarketer's Canada B2C E-Commerce report.

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