As Christmas – the busiest season of the year – approaches, Canada’s Internet Factbook 2017 has released vital information regarding Canadians and their use of the internet in their daily lives to help Canadian retailers get a picture of the eCommerce trends in the country. The following were the statistics gathered according to its most recent survey in regards to online shopping.

  • In the year 2017 at least 82 percent of Canadians made an online purchase.
  • 40 percent of Canadians prefer online shopping rather than shopping in person.
  • At least 79 percent of Canadians who made a purchase electronically compared prices online first before spending what they considered to be a significant sum of money.
  • Since 2014, mobile phone usage in the country has tripled (from 12 to 36 percent) in relation to the purchase of items electronically.
  • At least 20 percent of Canadians employ the use of a digital wallet service or a mobile payment system when making online transactions.

This data proves the retail industry is indeed undergoing a massive shift. In-store foot traffic is continually declining while smart phone use is increasingly becoming more prevalent in regards to consumer shopping.

This survey also communicates to retailers in Canada the importance of having a well-established online presence. From the stats it’s clear that Canadian retailers without a digital platform are falling behind not only in sales but customer interaction and engagement.

Here are a few ways Canadian retailers can benefit by choosing to make their operations digital.

1. Increased visibility.

Since a whopping 82% of Canadians have made at least one online purchase in 2017, it only stands to reason that these customers are searching for their products online before actually making a purchase. Also, a vast majority of in-store shoppers rely on information from search results and are more likely to purchase from specific stores after learning about the availability of an item, the price, location and even hours of operation. When this information is not available online at least three quarters of these customers will avoid visiting a nearby store to avoid the risk of their items not being available.

2. Increased customer engagement.

Customer engagement can be enhanced through a blog or a social media presence. With the evolution of technology in the recent times, local inventory ads are now being used to increase engagement with potential customers as well. They can be
used to provide helpful details such as the availability of a product in stores and the specifics of those products. It’s easier for a customer in a neighborhood near the store to walk into such a store once they know the specific item they want is available.

3. Build trust and authority.

A web presence signifies legitimacy and stability. According to the research, people are more likely to invest their money in retail stores that have a quality web presence – especially if it is a new brand that they have never heard of.

4. Increased competitive advantage.

Retailers can obtain a competitive edge by simply having an online presence i.e. social media profile and website. The business is ranked higher compared to other businesses without a web presence. When compared to those with a web presence, it gives the business a boost by enabling it to compete on a level playing field with the rest.

Ever since the Canadian government declared high speed internet an essential for quality of life, more and more Canadians are getting connected to the World Wide Web each day. According to another study conducted by Canada’s Internet Factbook 2017, a large portion of Canadians consider the internet to be an invaluable service that they would go above and beyond to maintain. When asked what they were willing to give up for one year, if need be, to maintain access to the internet, a whopping 46 percent would choose to forgo fast food. 34 percent and 31percent would abandon alcohol and chocolate respectively while 26 percent would not drink coffee for a year. 10% of the surveyed were willing to use public transportation over their personal cars, to stop exercising, stop using their phones or abandon sex for the designated period.


It’s clear that Canadian’s perceptions of the internet are continually changing and the importance of the internet is continually on the rise.

Items such as alcohol, coffee, sex and fast food have become secondary compared
to having access to the internet. Canadians retailers need to keep this in perspective
when considering whether or not to adopt an online strategy.