An Overview of E-Commerce Trends in Canada
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Basic elements to consider for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) doing business in Canada via e-commerce channels
- Population: 36.3 million
- GDP/per capita: C$55,876.1
- Internet population
Internet users: 30.9 million
- 89.8% of the population have access to the internet
- All online purchases: C$24.0B
- with a growth rate of 27.4% from 2012 to 2016.
- Total online consumer spending: C$600.0 per internet user
- Total online grocery consumer spending: C$11.88 per internet user (Total online grocery data only includes food and drinks)
- Total online grocery purchases: C$431.2M - With a growth rate of 10.2% from 2012 to 2016.
- Total online packaged food purchases: C$139.5 M in 2016 - With a growth rate of 6.8% from 2012 to 2016.
Top devices used for making online purchases (2016)
- Personal computer purchase: C$47.9B
- Mobile purchases: C$9.9B
- Tablet purchases: C$9.2B
- M-commerce accounted for 26% of all internet retail sales in 2016, double the 13% share of 2012, and is projected to account for 34% by 2021.
- 87% of Canadian households possessed a personal computer in 2016, while 59% of Canadian households possessed a laptop.
- 73% of Canadian households owned a smartphone in 2016, while 44% owned a tablet personal computer.
Top packaged foods sold online, 2016 C$ millions
Dairy made up 24.6% of online packaged food sales in 2016.
Baby food saw the highest growth rate of 26.8% from 2012 to 2016.
|Sauces, dressings and condiments||20.5|
|Rice, pasta and noodles||13.5|
|Ice cream and frozen desserts||8.5|
|Sweet biscuits, snack bars and fruit snacks||3.1|
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Canadian customer behaviour & trends
Canadian consumers are starting to purchase more food and drink items online due to rising initiatives (i.e. click-and-collect strategies) that make it easier for consumers to shop online. This is an opportunity for Canadian SMEs and speciality retailers to sell more products online.
Canadian shoppers want:
- Greater variety and selection of goods and services across different retailers.
- Convenience, time saving, and the ability to shop anywhere and anytime.
- Ability to see and compare prices on a wide selection of goods and services across different retailers.
- Stable and flexible delivery and shipping options.
Canadian consumers have high access to devices and internet subscriptions and are willing to shop online.
Understanding Canada’s online marketplace
- Retailers are developing mobile versions of their websites to further enhance the online shopping process for customers due to the high adoption of mobile devices.
- Brand-specific apps are heavily used as a component of loyalty-based marketing strategies.
- The omni-channel retailing model is expected to increasingly become the norm, with consumers being able to take advantage of the benefits of both online and offline platforms simultaneously.
- Top internet retailers in Canada include a mix of both omni-channel and internet retailing pure players.
- Credit and debit cards are the most popular method of payment.
- Canada has a high acceptance of non-cash and contactless payment (i.e. tap-and-go debit and credit cards).
- 75% of major retailers in Canada accept contactless payments.
- Much growth in the food and drink internet retailing is expected to come from speciality retailers, such as Davids Tea.
Canada’s top online retailers C$ millions
|Company name||C$ millions|
|Wal-Mart Stores Inc||758.9|
|Costco Wholesale Corp||153.8|
|Longo Bros Fruit Markets Inc||58.5|
Note: Only includes top retailers that sell groceries online.
Data represents total e-commerce sales (i.e. food and other products).
Amazon saw the highest sales in internet retailing with a growth rate of 9.2% from 2012 to 2016. Wal-Mart saw the most dynamic growth in internet retail sales with a growth rate of 56.9% from 2012 to 2016 due to initiatives such as its “click and collect” program (Grab & Go).
Source: Euromonitor International, 2017.
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