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Online Shopping Statistics in Canada

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Author: Comfynorth Team

The online shopping business in Canada and around the world has definitely faced some changes, and that is no secret to anyone. Especially with the new changes in lifestyle and global events, e-commerce was bound to become more popular.

If you are as interested as us in knowing how exactly these changes affected the online shopping statistics in Canada, you will find our research through all the recent news and e-commerce stats interesting.

We have analyzed many numbers and surfed through lots of links and verified data to find 11 important facts about online shopping in Canada. You can also read more about what these data mean to the future of this segment.

Our Findings

  • 72.5% of the Canadian population was shopping online in 2022, and is predicted to grow by 77.6% by 2025 (1).
  • Retail e-commerce sales in Canada are predicted to grow from 29.9 billion US dollars in 2022 to 40.3 billion US dollars in 2025 (2). 
  • Fashion is currently the leading category for online shopping in Canada (3).
  • Around 70% of Canadians prefer shopping for holiday gifts online rather than in stores (4).
  • 56% of younger online shoppers base their product choice on online reviews and customer reports (5).
  • 97% of Canadian consumers try to buy local to support the local economy, with 33% doing prior research on companies’ social and environmental practices (6).
  • Almost half of the online shoppers (49%) use specialized shopping apps (7). 
  • Pandemic e-commerce trends remain even as Canadians emerge from lockdown, with more and more people choosing to shop online even for groceries (49% compared to 19% in March 2020) (8).
  • Online shopping makes Canadians shop less frequently but with larger baskets (9).
  • Women are more likely to shop online than men, although the difference in numbers is not that significant (51% to 49%) (10).

With COVID restrictions being lifted, consumers spend more on lifestyle goods and experiences than on regular material things (11).

The Number of Online Shoppers In Canada Is Predicted to Keep Growing from 72.5% of the Population in 2022 to 77.6% in 2025

With the effect of the pandemic, online shopping trends have shifted. More people turned to e-commerce due to restrictions. With that in mind, we were curious to find out how the e-commerce trends may change with physical stores being more accessible due to fewer restrictions. 

In 2022, there were more than 27 million e-commerce users in Canada, which comprises 72.5% of the country’s population. However, considering today’s online shopping trends, experts predict the number of e-commerce users to grow to 77.6% by 2025. This means that the majority of the Canadian population will stick to online shopping.

With the number of e-commerce users growing steadily, Canadian businesses will need to optimize their online retail experience. Local companies will also need to make sure they will be able to meet the growing demand (this may include changes in logistics, supply chains, distribution, etc.).

Canadian E-Commerce Sales Will Increase to 40.3 Billion US Dollars by 2025

In 2022, Canada's total online sales of physical goods amounted to around 29.9 billion US dollars. Interestingly enough, that’s not the final record, as consumers are expected to spend even more online during the next few years.

Online shopping statistics in Canada and research predict that the e-commerce revenue will increase to 40.3 billion US dollars in 2025. This means that consumer behaviors and trends are here to stay, and retailers will need to prioritize online shopping in Canada and the means of it. Companies may need to work on their long-term e-commerce strategic plans, as these predictions would also mean increased demand.

Fashion Is the Most Popular Category Based on Online Shopping Statistics In Canada

With more shoppers giving their preference to e-commerce, we were curious to learn which segment appealed to them the most. For example, groceries and home renovation products were among the top categories at the beginning of the pandemic.

However, more recent online shopping statistics in Canada show that fashion is the most popular segment among e-commerce users. It is followed by media and electronics.

Based on the demand, Canadian companies are predicted to perfect their online shopping platforms, creating a smoother experience for the customers. Many businesses work on developing virtual dressing rooms, which can make shopping for fashion items much more convenient.

Also read: Home Improvement Industry Statistics in Canada

Work Life Balance Statistics in Canada

E-Commerce Is the Top Choice for Holiday Shopping, with 70% of Canadians Choosing Online Stores to Buy Gifts

The holiday season is the busiest one, which also involves a lot of shopping and extra expenses. With both physical and online stores offering significant discounts and sales during holidays, we were interested in learning which option was more popular during this busy season.

It turns out that the majority of Canadians prefer buying holiday gifts online. Research shows that 70% of respondents choose to get presents from e-commerce retailers instead of going to physical stores.

This might be explained by the fact that regular stores are typically crowded during big holiday sales. Therefore, shopping online can help users avoid long queues, buy all of their presents faster (often, in one place), and avoid being potentially exposed to COVID when being around other people in brick-and-mortar stores.

56% of E-Commerce Users Choose the Products Based on Reviews

E-commerce statistics in Canada prove that online shopping offers numerous benefits, and being able to read customer reviews is one of them.

In fact, 56% of younger users rely heavily on reviews when shopping online in Canada. Research also shows that many millennial and gen Z shoppers base their e-commerce decisions on social media influencers and family/friends’ recommendations.

This allows us to assume that reviews are one of the reasons why online shopping is so prevalent in Canada and around the world. The ability to read about other customers’ experiences while shopping gives e-commerce users more chances to find exactly what they are looking for, which means there will be more chances of them returning to online shopping in Canada.

Online Shopping Leads to Increased Consumer Awareness, as Statistics Suggest

Online shopping statistics in Canada show that 97% of consumers prefer buying local to support the local economy. Additionally, around 33% of online shoppers do prior research to learn more about companies’ social and environmental practices.

We can assume that online shopping may contribute to the heightened awareness of environmental and social issues in users. Shoppers are able to learn more about the companies they buy from right there on the spot. This gives them a chance to choose more socially- and environmentally-responsible businesses. Shopping online also makes it easier for customers to find companies and retailers that align with their values.

49% of E-Commerce Users Prefer Shopping Apps 

With online shopping being so common these days, the number of shopping channels grows consistently. Interestingly enough, almost half of Canadian shoppers choose to use specialized apps to make purchases online. 

In the longer run, this can increase the retailers’ need to create convenient, easy-to-use platforms to help their customers shop on the go. Of course, this could mean additional expenses for many companies (considering the needed research and app development cost). At the same time, this could give retailers a chance to reach more consumers and, thus, make more sales.

Also read: Student Debt in Canada Statistics

49% of Users Shop Online Even for Groceries, Compared to 19% In March 2020

Since the restrictions in Canada are being lifted after the lockdown, we were interested to learn more about the online shopping trends and e-commerce statistics pre- and post-lockdown.

It turns out that the pandemic shopping habits are likely to stay. More and more consumers stick to online shopping, even when it comes to groceries. This is somewhat surprising given that grocery shopping is a category that often requires one’s presence in the store (to pick the freshest products, choose the best-looking veggies, and so on).

Nonetheless, more and more Canadians prefer to grocery shop from the comfort of their homes even after the lockdown is over. 49% of respondents say that they choose to buy groceries online, compared to 19% in March 2020. 

This means that the pandemic had an immense impact on e-commerce. We can also assume that it influenced the consumers’ shopping habits, shifting the trends and establishing new tendencies.

Canadians Buy More but Shop Less Frequently

Shopping online rather than in stores could mean diverse shopping habits, and we were interested in discovering more of those.

We have found some interesting online shopping statistics in Canada. It turns out that more customers (52%) make less frequent purchases. At the same time, they end up with larger baskets. This compares to grocery store micro-trips we are all familiar with.

This means that consumers’ general shopping behaviors continue to change. For companies, this could lead to more research on customers' habits and behavior to meet the changing demands or create a more seamless experience for online shopping.

Women Shop Online More Than Men, But the Difference Isn’t That Big

While we already know that younger generations are likelier to shop online, it’s also worth mentioning the e-commerce statistics based on sex.

Surveys show that female shoppers are likelier to make purchases online than male users. That being said, the difference between the numbers isn’t that drastic – 51% of the surveyed Canadian online shoppers are women, and, thus, 49% are men.

This could mean that online shopping in Canada has equal benefits for all categories of users. At the same time, these statistics may inspire some companies to work on their services and cater more to either women (to satisfy the larger number of shoppers) or men (to attract more new male customers).

Online Shoppers Are More Interested In Purchasing Lifestyle Goods and Experiences Than Material Objects

With COVID restrictions being lifted, the online shopping trends started to change too. Research shows a shift in spending among e-commerce users. These days, people are more likely to buy experiences (like dining out, museum tickets, etc.) instead of purchasing material objects.

This can prove how the current state of the world affects e-commerce. With the restrictions being lifted, consumers choose to spend money on things and experiences they haven’t been able to enjoy for a long time.

This can also be a good reminder that e-commerce companies need to remain flexible and be ready for transformations. As the pandemic rules and regulations change, the consumers’ behavior shifts as well, leading to increased or decreased sales in certain e-commerce segments. Canadian companies need to account for these frequent changes when creating their business plans.

Summary

Online shopping is booming in Canada, and it is predicted to grow even further. Whether this has to do with the pandemic or simply the convenience of e-commerce, Canadian companies can use online shopping trends to their advantage and cater to their customers' needs better.

How often do you shop online? Do you prefer making trips to the stores or buying everything in the comfort of your home? Share your thoughts in the comments!

References:

  1. International Trade Administration (August 21, 2021). Canada - Country Commercial Guide – eCommerce. Retrieved from https://www.trade.gov/country-commercial-guides/canada-ecommerce
  2. Statista (September 16, 2021). Retail e-commerce revenue in Canada from 2017 to 2025 (in million U.S. dollars). Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/289741/canada-retail-e-commerce-sales/
  3. International Trade Administration (n.d.). Canada – eCommerce. Retrieved from https://www.privacyshield.gov/article?id=Canada-eCommerce
  4. Anita Balakrishnan (November 23, 2020). Online shopping set to hit record this year in Canada. Retrieved from https://www.ctvnews.ca/business/online-shopping-set-to-hit-record-this-year-in-canada-1.5201070
  5. The NPD Group (September 23, 2021). Canada: Online Shopping Frequency Plateaued in 2021 For Most Categories After a Significant Increase in 2020. Retrieved from https://www.npd.com/news/press-releases/2021/online-shopping-frequency-plateaued-in-2021-for-most-categories-after-a-significant-increase-in-2020/
  6. Business Development Bank of Canada (n.d.). 5 Must-Watch Trends. Shaping the Future of Canadian Business. Retrieved from https://www.bdc.ca/globalassets/digizuite/10508-infographic_five_must-watch_trends.pdf?v=4a472a
  7. Think with Google (January 2021). Recent retail insights on the Canadian consumer journey. Retrieved from https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-ca/consumer-insights/retail-data-collection/
  8. PayPal Canada (June 23, 2021). Canadians increased online shopping spend by more than $2B per month compared to pre-pandemic. Retrieved from https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/canadians-increased-online-shopping-spend-by-more-than-2b-per-month-compared-to-pre-pandemic-886041380.html
  9. PwC Canada (n.d.). The retail landscape of the future - Canadian Consumer Insights 2021, Pulse 1. Retrieved from https://www.pwc.com/ca/en/industries/consumer-markets/consumer-insights-2021.html
  10. Statista (July 07, 2021). Distribution of online shoppers in Canada as of April 2019, by gender. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/1044419/canada-online-shoppers-by-gender/
  11. Sean Tarry (August 31, 2021). Ecommerce Sales In Canada Still Through The Roof, But Shifting Away From Goods Toward Services [Feature]. Retrieved from https://retail-insider.com/retail-insider/2021/08/ecommerce-sales-in-canada-still-through-the-roof-but-shifting-away-from-goods-toward-services-feature/

Our research

1000

Online Shopping Statistics Considered

100

Hours of Research

20

Experts Consulted

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