Foreign Retail Sites Account for About Half of Online Purchases in Canada

Aug 17, 2017

The retail industry in Canada is undergoing a transformation. In many cases, e-commerce has been added to the traditional retail experience, thus giving birth to new digitally-enabled shopping experiences.

Electronic Commerce in Canada

Electronic commerce is becoming more and more popular among Canadians, and they plan to go on spending money online. According to Forester research, Canadians are expected to spend $39 billion online by 2019, which accounts for 9.5% of all retail purchases in Canada. According to Statistics Canada, Canadian companies sold over $136 billion in goods and services online in 2013, which is up from $122 billion in 2012.

Canadians purchase clothing (42%) and travel (40%) online in large numbers. Media sales are also popular online, and many Canadians report purchasing books, music, apps, and show tickets online.

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What Do Statistics Show?

Although the biggest online retailers in Canada are growing faster as compared to their US counterparts, foreign retail sites account for nearly half of Canadian consumers’ online purchase, E-Tail Canada reports.

Moreover, 62% of Canadian retailers having participated in the survey saw the value of their online orders rise between 2015 and 2016. 71% saw their conversion rate grow (the number of initial customer clicks that result in an actual purchase), as opposed to browsing.

37% of Canadian retailers surveyed are offering customers so-called “cross-channel” returns or exchanges so that customers can return items in stores that they bought online. 8% were in the process of implementing the capability, and 13% planned to implement it in the upcoming 2 years.

According to Statistics Canada, Canadian e-commerce sales accounted for $19.2 billion in 2016, with nearly 60% of the purchases made from domestic retailers and 40% from foreign retailers.

67% of the retailers surveyed report they use digital marketing instead of traditional marketing budgets. The overall marketing budget had shifted to digital by over 50% at 12% of the companies surveyed, while 19% said digital marketing took up 25% – 50% of their overall marketing costs.

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