Sorry for interrupting, this website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Learn more
Accept & Close

Canada Online Shopping Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Online Shopping market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Definitions

This Report covers online-only retailers and the online operations of brick and mortar retailers and is inclusive of all online purchasing, whether made via a computer, tablet, smartphone or other device. The focus of this Report is on tangible objects that need to be picked up or delivered; digital media, travel, entertainment, insurance policies and other intangible products are not the main subjects of this Report.

This Report builds on the analysis presented in Mintel’s Online Shopping – Canada, November 2015.

What you need to know

Despite the fact that virtually all Canadians are shopping online (92%), consumers continue to be more reliant on shopping instore rather than over the internet. With only 19% of consumers saying that the bulk of purchases were made online in the past year, Canadians are likely to be approaching online shopping with a heavier focus on the earlier stages of the process than on completing the process online. Having said this, consumers are paying attention to product suggestions from retailers and shipping thresholds are working to as a motivator to encourage basket building amongst consumers.

Notably, as consumers are toggling between computers and mobile devices when shopping online, a seamless experience is vital to prevent drop-off given their preference for completing the shopping journey in-store. Amazon proves to be an exception and its presence is well established in the minds of Canadian consumers.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Carol Wong-Li , a leading analyst in the Lifestyles and Leisure sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Despite the fact that virtually all Canadians are shopping online, consumers continue to be more reliant on shopping in-store rather than over the internet. With few consumers saying that the bulk of purchases were made online in the past year, Canadians are likely to be approaching online shopping with a heavier focus on the earlier stages of the process than on completing the process online. Having said this, consumers are paying attention to product suggestions from retailers and shipping thresholds are working to as a motivator to encourage basket building amongst consumers. Notably, as consumers are toggling between computers and mobile devices when shopping online, a seamless experience is vital to prevent drop-off given their preference for completing the shopping journey in-store. Amazon proves to be an exception and its presence is well established in the minds of Canadian consumers. Carol Wong-Li
Senior Analyst - Lifestyles and Leisure

What you get

What's included

Why buy from us?

Succeed

Our reports will provide you with market data, consumer research and competitive intelligence to succeed in your market.

Instant Access

Buy now and you'll have instant access to the information you need to make the right decisions.

Opportunities

Find out what's next in the markets that matter to you: where opportunities lie and what challenges you will face.

Trusted

A business Superbrand, Mintel is a source you can trust. We have been defining and refining the Market Intelligence mix since 1972.

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definitions
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • Retailers haven’t reached their full potential in engaging Canadians with online shopping
            • Figure 1: Shop online at least once a month 2015 vs 2018, August 2015/April 2018
          • Canadians likely doing more browsing than actual shopping online
            • Figure 2: Percentage of total shopping done online, April 2018
          • The presence of Amazon looms large
            • Figure 3: Percentage of total online shopping done on Amazon, April 2018
          • The opportunities
            • Incentivizing re-orders may yield gains amongst parents with under-5s
              • Figure 4: Percentage of total shopping done online, April 2018
            • Boomers are an untapped group with solid potential
              • Figure 5: Online shopping frequency, Baby Boomers vs overall, April 2018
            • 18-34s are paying attention to product suggestions, give them some food for thought
              • Figure 6: Receptivity to retailer suggestions, 18-34s vs overall, April 2018
            • What it means
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Consumers have more spending power
                • The Canadian retail landscape is changing
                  • Tariffs are likely to have an impact on the prices of goods
                  • Market Factors

                    • Perceived financial health has improved
                      • Figure 7: Perception of financial health, January/February 2016-18
                    • The retail landscape in Canada is changing
                      • The presence of Amazon is real and will grow
                        • International retailers continue to increase their presence
                          • Consumers could be seeing higher prices due to tariffs
                          • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                            • The appeal of Amazon is strong amongst Canadians
                              • Cash-back sites are motivating consumers to shop online
                                • Retailers haven’t reached their full potential (yet)
                                  • Celebratory days attract consumers during off-peak times
                                    • Smart speakers will have an impact on how consumers shop online
                                    • What’s Working?

                                      • Amazon’s presence is strong in Canada
                                        • Amazon.ca has mass appeal
                                          • Figure 8: Proportion of total online shopping done on Amazon.ca, by household income, April 2018
                                        • The breadth of products is a draw – In their words
                                          • Amazon’s ad campaigns continue to reinforce variety
                                            • Figure 9: A to Z, May 2018
                                          • Amazon’s other features also have broad appeal
                                            • Cash-back shopping sites are working to drive online traffic
                                              • Figure 10: Use cash-back shopping sites, parents with under-12s vs overall, April 2018
                                            • Every little bit helps – In their words
                                              • Ebates ads are here to help
                                                • Figure 11: Pshhh!, September 2016
                                                • Figure 12: Is Ebates Legit? People Explain the Truth About Ebates!, June 2017
                                            • What’s Struggling?

                                              • E-commerce usage amongst Canadians continues to lag behind the US
                                                • Canadians are less likely to be doing the bulk of their shopping online
                                                  • Figure 13: Percentage of total shopping done online, Canada vs US, April 2018 (Canada)/March 2018 (US)
                                                • Proportion of monthly online shoppers has increased in the US, stable in Canada
                                                  • Figure 14: Shop online at least once a month, Canada vs US, August 2015 and April 2018 (Canada)/March 2015 and March 2018 (US)
                                                • Retailers are missing out on older Canadian shoppers
                                                  • Figure 15: Percentage of total shopping done online, by age, Canada vs US, April 2018 (Canada)/March 2018 (US)
                                              • What’s Next?

                                                • Smart speakers are changing how and when consumers shop
                                                  • Figure 16: Winter win, February 2018
                                                • Amazon will continue to broaden its appeal to younger shoppers
                                                  • Retailers create their own special celebration days
                                                    • Figure 17: Way Day, Wayfair direct mail campaign, April 2018
                                                  • Companies are finding ways to make shipping even faster
                                                    • Figure 18: Amazon Key, October 2017
                                                • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                  • Virtually all Canadians shop online
                                                    • Canadians still do the bulk of their shopping in-store
                                                      • Amazon’s presence looms large
                                                        • Consumers are toggling between devices when shopping online
                                                        • Frequency of Online Shopping

                                                          • Virtually all Canadians are shopping online
                                                            • Figure 19: Online shopping frequency, April 2018
                                                          • Parents with under-5s are heavy online shoppers
                                                            • Figure 20: Online shopping frequency, parents with under-5s vs overall, April 2018
                                                          • Small incentives for re-orders should work to grow reliance on e-commerce
                                                            • Benefits to be had by targeting dads
                                                              • Figure 21: The story of Lucy, August 2017
                                                            • Retailers may (still) be missing the mark with Boomers
                                                              • Figure 22: Online shopping frequency, Baby Boomers vs overall, April 2018
                                                            • Holiday prep is a good time to connect with women aged 55-64
                                                            • Reliance on E-commerce

                                                              • Canadians still lean towards shopping in-stores
                                                                • Figure 23: Percentage of total shopping done online, April 2018
                                                                • Figure 24: Attitudes towards online shopping, April 2018
                                                              • Young men more inclined to making the bulk of their purchases online
                                                                • Figure 25: More than 50% of total shopping done online, men 18-24 vs overall, April 2018
                                                              • Tiered offerings supported by messages of self-gifting will resonate
                                                                • Boomers are still attached to physical stores
                                                                  • Figure 26: Attitudes towards online shopping, April 2018
                                                                • Connecting with Boomers while they’re in their comfort zone will yield gains
                                                                • Reliance on Amazon

                                                                  • Amazon is an undeniable presence
                                                                    • Figure 27: Proportion of total online shopping done on Amazon, April 2018
                                                                  • Amazon appeals to all ages
                                                                      • Figure 28: Proportion of total online shopping done on Amazon.ca, by age, April 2018
                                                                    • Storytelling and emphasising quality should keep the attention of older consumers
                                                                      • Figure 29: The musical, April 2018
                                                                    • Quebecers are less likely to shop from Amazon
                                                                      • Figure 30: Proportion of total online shopping done on Amazon.ca, Quebec vs overall, April 2018
                                                                    • Quebecers less concerned about shipping, so give them other perks
                                                                    • Pre-purchase Process

                                                                      • Canadians may be doing more browsing than actual shopping online
                                                                        • Figure 31: Pre-purchase process, by category, April 2018
                                                                      • Men 18-34: it’s more about consideration when shopping for electronics
                                                                        • Figure 32: Pre-purchase process of electronics and appliances, men 18-34 vs overall, April 2018
                                                                      • Gains to be had by giving them some (more) food for thought
                                                                        • Also, remind them of loyalty points
                                                                          • Women aged 18-24 are scoring for deals when shopping for clothing
                                                                            • Figure 33: Pre-purchase process of electronics and appliances, women 18-34 vs overall, April 2018
                                                                          • The quest for deals means they will be interested in more than just promotion codes
                                                                          • Devices and Platforms Used for Online Shopping

                                                                            • Consumers are toggling between devices and platforms
                                                                              • Figure 34: Devices used for online shopping, April 2018
                                                                            • Brand experience is brand experience, no matter the device
                                                                              • 18-24s may be moving away from desktops
                                                                                • Figure 35: Usage of desktop vs mobile phone for online shopping, by age, April 2018
                                                                              • Incentivising sharing will boost discovery amongst women aged 18-24
                                                                                • Parents with young children are using their phones
                                                                                  • Figure 36: Usage of mobile phone for online shopping, by age of children at home, April 2018
                                                                                • Parents will lean on brands that lend a helping hand
                                                                                • Basket Building and Abandonment

                                                                                  • Clear communication of costs are a must
                                                                                    • Figure 37: Basket abandonment due to unexpected prices and high shipping costs, April 2018
                                                                                  • Affluent consumers are more sensitive to surprises and may demand greater transparency
                                                                                    • Threshold for free shipping matters to women 35-54
                                                                                      • Figure 38: Agreement with ‘I often order more to get free shipping’, women 35-54 vs overall, April 2018
                                                                                    • Product suggestions will grow baskets of 18-34s
                                                                                      • Figure 39: Receptivity to retailer suggestions, 18-34s vs overall, April 2018
                                                                                    • Personalized recommendations are key – In their words
                                                                                    • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                      • Data sources
                                                                                        • Consumer survey data
                                                                                          • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                            • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                              • Abbreviations