Inside Logistics

Canadians adopting e-commerce

Consumers delivering wake up call to retailers as they head online

May 14, 2015

TORONTO, Ontario—If the Canadian retail industry is looking for a new sales motto, they might want to consider, “Ship It, or Lose It.”

After years of dabbling in online shopping, eager consumers looking to spend their money on e-commerce are delivering a wake-up call to retailers.

New data from Canada Post found that in 2014, about 76 percent of Canadian households shopped online.

Of those figures, about a quarter of Canadians have become “frequent” shoppers, which means they’re buying on the Internet four to 10 times per year, the data says.

“Consumers are dipping their toe into e-commerce, testing the waters, and becoming very quickly converted,” said Danielle Doiron, director of parcels and e-commerce market development at Canada Post.

“And the type of products they’re purchasing online has expanded.”

Doiron will present the Canada Post findings on Tuesday at the Etail Canada retail conference in Toronto.

The postal service conducted the study by tapping into data compiled from some retailers who ship packages through the mail and the customers who receive those packages.

The report also found that shoppers will buy products online they wouldn’t have just a few years ago, including toys, games and hobbies, which saw shipments rise by 37 percent in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same time a year earlier.

One of the biggest hurdles for retailers has been how larger products are shipped to the homes of customers who want their purchases fast, but don’t necessarily want to pay the elevated fees associated with expedited parcels.

Some retailers have tried to alleviate some of those concerns by giving e-commerce customers more options, such as picking up items in parcel lockers inside their stores or through depots which expedite the process.