E-commerce in Canada is a billion-dollar industry

September 4, 2014 - Tags: E-business Research and data Marketing

This guest blog post is provided by Statistics Canada who is responsible for producing statistics that help Canadians better understand their country — its population, resources, economy, society and culture.

As more consumers shift spending from physical stores to online merchants, e-commerce has dramatically changed the way retailers reach customers, making it faster and easier for consumers to make purchases on the fly while avoiding the hassles of going to the store.

As such, e-commerce sales in Canada by retailers reached $7.7 billion in 2012, up from $6.6 billion in 2011 according to the Annual Retail Trade and the Annual Non-Store Retail Surveys.  At 16.3%, retail e-commerce sales grew at over five times the pace of the overall growth in retail trade (+2.9%).  Retail e-commerce sales accounted for 1.5% of total retail sales in 2012, up from 1.4% in 2011.

Retail e-commerce sales are defined as the purchase or commitment to purchase goods or services over the Internet. The figures include sales by retailers that sell both through a store and their website in addition to retailers that operate without a physical presence. Internet purchases from non-Canadian retailers and sites are excluded. E-commerce sales by Canadian retailers to international parties are included.

On a comparative basis, retail e-commerce sales in the United States accounted for 5.2% of its total retail sales in 2012.  

More than three-quarters of retail e-commerce sales are accounted for by electronic shopping and mail-order houses and motor vehicle and parts dealers.  The share of retail e-commerce accounted for by electronic shopping and mail-order houses (establishments retailing all types of merchandise using online and print media) grew from 38.6% in 2011 to 40.6% in 2012.  This growth came mainly at the expense of motor vehicle and parts dealers, whose share went from 36.5% to 34.8%.

To learn more about e-commerce sales in Canada, including e-commerce sales among traditional retailers, read the full article Retail at a Glance: E-commerce sales, 2012. For additional information, read about Individual Internet use and ecommerce, 2012 and Digital technology and Internet use, 2013.

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