Online shopping jumps by $2 billion a month

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

Canadians have increased their monthly online shopping spend by more than $2 billion during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A PayPal Canada survey has found that Canadians who responded are spending $178 per month shopping online, an increase of $69 compared to  before the pandemic. Across the country, this translates to almost $5.5 billion in current monthly online spending and an overall increase of over $2 billion in monthly online spending.

Online grocery

The survey noted a significant jump in online grocery shopping. An initial survey of Canadian consumers in March 2020 found that only 19% engaged in online grocery shopping. In a second survey conducted in April 2020, 30% of Canadians purchased groceries online. The most recent survey shows that number has jumped to 49%.

Canadian women surveyed are more likely than men to have increased how often they’re shopping online groceries (36% versus men at 26%). Ontarians are more likely than others to have increased how often they’re shopping for groceries online (36% compared to 24 to 30% in other provinces.)

It’s not just the grocery industry that has experienced a surge in e-commerce. Online spend grew in almost every vertical, including:

  • Home office furnishings and equipment (56%), up from 42% in April 2020
  • Fitness equipment, apps, or programs (41%), up from 25% in April 2020
  • School supplies (38%), up from 23% in April 2020

“Last year in April, only 44% told us they anticipated shopping online more than what they were already doing. Today, that number is 59%,” said Jill Cress, PayPal vice-president, consumer marketing.

“Looking back at how overwhelmed we were at the challenges of finding toilet paper and hand sanitizers in store last year it’s great to see that just one year later, we are turning to e-commerce for all of our needs and the data shows this shift is here to stay.”

The future of shopping

Consumers believe the digital economy will become a prevalent part of daily life. Three in five Canadians (61%) surveyed say they believe that cashless transactions will be part of their typical shopping experience and one in four (28%) say they don’t expect to use cash five years from now at all.

Canadian consumers expect retailers to be innovative in their approach to keeping up with digital demand including offering drone deliveries (29%), facial recognition for payment (25%), virtual reality fitting rooms (17%) and holographic representation of products (11%).

For half of Canadians, the main deterrents to online shopping are the shipping cost (53%) and the delivery time (51%), as well as a preference to pick out their own products in person (50%).

Nearly one in five Canadians (19%) say they are held back from online shopping because they are worried about safely transacting online.

An omnibus survey was conducted among a sample of 1,528 nationally representative Canadian adults between April 21 and 23, 2021, in collaboration with Angus Reid. The poll is accurate to within +/- 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians been polled.