Canada The State of the eCommerce Industry Market Report 2022
“The Canadian ecommerce industry has seen unprecedented growth over the past few years, spiking after the onset of the pandemic, but continuing to maintain steady growth after that initial surge.

Canada The State of the eCommerce Industry Market Report 2022

£ 3,695 (Excl.Tax)


Key Issues Covered in this Report

  • Who is shopping online? How are they shopping?
  • What are the top priorities of online shoppers?
  • What loyalty or discount programs do online shoppers use?
  • How has COVID-19 impacted online shopping?

Expert Insights from a Tech and Media Analyst

This report, written by Michael Lloy, a leading research analyst, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight trends in the Canadian eCommerce market and add expert context to the numbers.

The Canadian ecommerce industry has seen unprecedented growth over the past few years, spiking after the onset of the pandemic, but continuing to maintain steady growth after that initial surge. Consumers had drastically changed their shopping habits, migrating online more frequently to purchase both essentials and non-essentials. After brands have spent the last two years investing in their digital infrastructure and online shopping platforms, many brands are searching for the next step in digital innovation to gain a competitive edge in a post-pandemic world.

While some brands are attempting to deliver increased value through expanded product offerings, free shipping, and flexibility, others are looking to re-create the in-store shopping experience through new innovations like Live Shopping, which merges social media livestreaming and ecommerce. Others still pursue stronger brand images through CSR initiatives that integrate sustainability and social justice into core business practices. Likely, a balanced mix of all three approaches will have positive outcomes for ecommerce brands as we move into 2022.”

Michael Lloy
Senior Tech & Media Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • Top takeaways
            • Market overview
              • Impact of COVID-19 on ecommerce
                • Figure 1: Immediate, short and longer term impact of COVID-19 on ecommerce, 2021
              • Opportunities
                • Young women make more than 50% of their purchases online
                  • Live selling can also be effective across other categories and demographics
                    • Younger consumers want to see sustainability
                      • Challenges
                        • Small businesses continue to get squeezed
                          • Data security remains a primary concern, affecting trust
                          • The Market – Key Takeaways

                            • After almost two years of recovery, Omicron looms large
                            • The Market – By the Numbers

                              • Retail ecommerce sales are increasing
                                • Figure 2: Retail ecommerce sales, January 2019 – October 2021
                            • Market Factors

                              • Economic factors continue to shape Canadians’ spending mindsets
                                • Household savings supported by government, but expenditures have grown slightly
                                  • Figure 3: Household saving rate, Q1 2018-Q1 2021
                                  • Figure 4: Household saving rate metrics, Q1 2018-Q1 2021
                                • Unemployment reached pre-pandemic levels
                                  • Figure 5: Canada’s Unemployment Rate, January 2019 – November 2021
                                  • Figure 6: Canada’s retail sales, January 2020 – October 2021
                                • Canada has an aging population
                                  • Figure 7: Proportion of 0-14s and over-65s in the Canada, 2000-40
                                • Nearly half of Canadians still adopt a safety-first mindset
                                  • Figure 8: COVID-19 exposure and life disruption concerns, March 3, 2020–October 4, 2021
                              • Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

                                • Experience and perception are key to ecommerce success
                                • Competitive Strategies

                                  • Meeting consumer needs through the lens of the Technology Trend Driver
                                    • Brands are creating digital shopping experiences to deliver online “in-store” vibes
                                      • Figure 9: Nordstrom Instagram post, December 2021
                                    • The future is here with “live shopping”
                                      • Figure 10: Livescale Instagram post, August 2021
                                    • L’Oreal went live
                                      • Figure 11: L’Oréal’s Beauty Festival Instagram post, June 2021
                                    • Framing your brand through the lens of Surroundings Trend Driver
                                      • Sustainability matters
                                        • Figure 12: Mattel Instagram post, December 2021
                                      • Canadians are looking for “Localism”
                                        • Figure 13: Grocery Neighbour Instagram post, May 2021
                                      • Expanding your brand through the lens of the Value Trend Driver
                                        • Ghost kitchens provide convenience and flexibility when shopping at department stores
                                          • Figure 14: Ghost Kitchen Walmart Location & Layout
                                      • The Consumer – Key Takeaways

                                        • Online shopping behaviours have fundamentally changed over the past 22 months
                                          • Devices provide key insight into how demographics engage with online shopping platforms
                                            • Older consumers stick with legacy discount platforms, while younger consumer experiment
                                              • “Free” is more important than “fast” for most online shoppers
                                              • Shifting Shopping Behaviours

                                                • COVID-19 increased the frequency of online shopping
                                                  • Figure 15: Frequency of online shopping purchases, 2021 vs 2018
                                                • Older consumers are driving increased purchase frequency
                                                  • Figure 16: Shopping online at least once per week and at least once per month, by age, 2021 vs 2018
                                                • Younger consumers still drive online purchase volume
                                                  • Figure 17: At least 50% of shopping done online, by age and gender, 2021
                                                • Parents of young children tend to do more shopping online
                                                  • Figure 18: Method of receiving online purchases in the past 12 months, by parentage, 2021
                                                • Online shoppers primarily bought non-essential items
                                                  • Figure 19: Items purchased online over the past 12 months, 2021
                                                • Younger consumers were more likely to buy essential items online
                                                  • Figure 20: Essential items purchased online over the past 12 months, 18-44s vs over-45s, 2021
                                                • Subscription services that sell essentials also attract younger consumers
                                                  • Figure 21: Dr. Squatch X Halo – Spartan Scrub Limited Release, November 2021
                                                • Despite shifting shopping behaviours, consumers still prefer in-store shopping overall
                                                  • Figure 22: Shopping channel preference (% agree), by age, 2021
                                              • Online Shopping Device Usage

                                                • With the exception of computers, browsing rates surpass shopping rates.
                                                  • Figure 23: Online shopping device usage for browsing and shopping, 2021
                                                • Consumers primarily utilize computers for online shopping
                                                  • Consumer age contributes to higher rates of online shopping activity via computer
                                                    • Figure 24: Usage of computers for shopping, by age, 2021
                                                    • Figure 25: Usage of computers for shopping, by age and gender, 2021
                                                  • Consumers shop differently with smartphones, contributing to higher browsing rates
                                                    • Figure 26: Usage of smartphones for shopping, by age, 2021
                                                    • Figure 27: Usage of smartphones for shopping, by race, 2021
                                                  • Price-shopping and pre-planning via retailer app are common smartphone shopping behaviours
                                                    • Figure 28: Browsing behaviours on smartphone (% agree), by age, 2021
                                                    • Figure 29: Browsing behaviours on smartphone (% agree), by race, 2021
                                                  • Data security concerns are top priority, but are not significantly impacting shopping behaviour
                                                    • Figure 30: Consumers who ranked data security as very important, by age and gender, 2021
                                                • Discounts and Rewards

                                                  • Discounts and rewards are important to most Canadians, but age drives redemption preference
                                                    • Figure 31: Importance of rewards programs (% very/somewhat important), by age, 2021
                                                  • Younger consumers look to cut costs when shopping online
                                                    • Figure 32: Cost-saving shopping behaviours (% agree), by age, 2021
                                                  • Email subject lines need to communicate clear value in order to engage with consumers
                                                    • Figure 33: Amazon high read-rate Boxing Day promotional email
                                                  • Half of Canadian consumers do not use cost-saving apps, websites or plug-ins
                                                    • Figure 34: How Rakuten Works, September 2021
                                                    • Figure 35: Online cost-saving tool usage, by age and gender, 2021
                                                  • Young men drive among top-used cost-saving tools
                                                    • Figure 36: Online cost-saving tool usage (top-4), 18-24s vs overall, 2021
                                                  • Older consumers prefer Rakuten
                                                    • Despite higher usage, 18-34s are more likely to feel jaded about online cost-saving tools
                                                      • Figure 37: Consumer attitudes towards cash back online shopping websites (% agree), by age, 2021
                                                    • Younger consumers want customization with their cost-saving options
                                                      • Figure 38: Consumers who ranked a customized shopping experience as very important, by age, 2021
                                                  • Shipping and Returns

                                                    • The majority of Canadians receive their products via home delivery
                                                      • Figure 39: How have consumers received their online purchases, 2021
                                                    • High-income households take advantage of in-store and curb-side pick-up.
                                                      • Figure 40: How have consumers received their online purchases, by household income (HHI), 2021
                                                    • Parents look for quick and convenient pick-up options
                                                      • Figure 41: How have consumers received their online purchases (select), parents vs non-parents, 2021
                                                    • “Free” is more alluring than “fast”, but both are important
                                                      • Figure 42: Importance of shipping-related services, 2021
                                                    • Younger Canadians are more concerned about sustainable shipping
                                                      • Figure 43: Consumers who ranked sustainable shipping as very important, by age, 2021
                                                    • Importance of sustainable shipping is higher among South Asian consumers Multicultural
                                                      • Figure 44: Consumers who ranked sustainable shipping as very important, Asian Canadians vs overall, 2021
                                                    • Online returns are tricky, but are a top priority for Canadian online shoppers
                                                      • Figure 45: Amazon Twitter post, December 2020
                                                      • Figure 46: Consumers who ranked free returns as very important, by age, 2021
                                                    • COVID-19 fatigue remains high, while hope for a return to normalcy fades
                                                      • Worry over exposure drives some consumers to shop online more frequently.
                                                        • Figure 47: Consumer shopping frequency, by fear of risk of exposure, 2021
                                                        • Figure 48: Consumer purchase volume, by fear of risk of exposure, 2021
                                                      • Brands need to expand the range of online shopping tools available
                                                        • Figure 49: Shopping behaviours of consumers concerned about COVID-19 (% agree), 2021
                                                      • Cost wins over fear for some COVID-19 concerned shoppers
                                                        • Figure 50: Attitudes towards free shipping among consumers concerned about COVID-19 (% agree), 2021
                                                        • Figure 51: Curb-side pick-up rates of consumers concerned over COVID-19, 2021
                                                    • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                      • Data sources
                                                        • Consumer survey data
                                                          • Mintel Trend Drivers
                                                            • Abbreviations

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