E-commerce in Canada - Statistics & Facts

The e-commerce market, where consumers and businesses can buy and sell products and services exclusively through electronic channels, has been developing constantly in the past decade. In fact, retail sales from worldwide electronic commerce are expected to grow from 2.3 trillion U.S. dollars in 2017 to almost 4.9 trillion in 2021. As of 2018, e-commerce retail trade sales in Canada amounted to almost 1.6 billion Canadian dollars, and revenue generated within the retail e-commerce market is expected to surpass 55 billion Canadian dollars by 2023, up from 40 billion in 2018.

Some of the most popular online shopping categories in Canada include fashion, travel and household goods. The most common reasons for online as opposed to in-person purchases according to online shoppers in Canada are pretty similar to other countries, namely a better variety of products online, saving time and saving money. Canadian online shoppers are also interested in shopping internationally to score a better deal online.

There is still hesitance towards online payments among Canadians, with 18 percent admitting that they feel very uncomfortable making digital purchases, however this attitude has not prevented Canadians from exhibiting greater confidence when buying online. In 2017, a total of 57 percent of Canadians aged between 18 and 34 years old said that they stored personal credit card information with a mobile app or online e-commerce site. The share of Canadians who store their details on the internet decreases with age, with just 22 percent of Canadians aged 65 or above saying that they did so. Other popular online and mobile payment actions in Canada involved credit card usage, P2P services as well as PayPal. Among those who shop online, some 17 percent admit to spending more than 2,000 Canadian dollars, while for 25 percent of digital shoppers the average annual amount spent online does not surpass 500 dollars.

There is also a clear increase in the amount of Canadians who are happy to use more sophisticated and non-traditional payment methods. It is estimated that by 2020, the percentage of smartphone users using mobile wallets from major tech companies in Canada will have almost doubled to 15 percent, up from seven percent in 2016. Overall, Canadians are demonstrating an ever-increasing willingness to embrace the world of e-commerce, are becoming more receptive to new and innovative payment methods and are growing more confident storing data and purchasing online. Whilst progress in Canada’s e-commerce industry has been somewhat slow, market forecasts suggest that the industry is set to grow significantly over the next few years. If more Canadian retailers and consumers begin to explore and utilize the benefits of e-commerce, these forecasts could come to fruition.

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