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 2017, e-commerce retail trade sales in Canada amounted to over 1.8 billion Canadian dollars, and revenue generated within the retail e-commerce market is expected to reach almost 29 billion Canadian dollars by 2021, up from 18.3 billion in 2016.

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 store personal credit card information with a mobile app or online e-commerce site. What is interesting here is that age plays a key role in terms of Canadians’ willingness to store such data online. 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. There is also a noticeable increase in online and mobile payment actions in Canada, so much so that a third of them report having a PayPal account to pay for online and offline purchases (up from 22 percent in 2014) and nearly a quarter notice that merchants use mobile devices to accept their payments, up from just eight percent who said the same in 2016. 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.

Interestingly, 22 percent of Canadians said that they had bought something online via a mobile device in the past month in 2017, a significant increase from the 13 percent who said the same in the fourth quarter of 2014. A shift in device usage is evident when it comes to Christmas online orders; in 2017, 61.6 percent of orders were made via a PC, down from 76.6 percent in 2016. Instead Canadians were turning to mobile for online purchases over the 2017 holiday season. A total of 38.4 percent online orders were made via mobile in 2017, up from with the 23.4 percent the previous year.

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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