Canadian Business Technology, Internet and eCommerce Statistics ©

Statistics Canada has released its Digital Technology and Internet Use statistics for 2012.  This is the first update of similar statistical data since 2007. The statistics are based on a sample of approximately 17,000 private Canadian enterprises of all sizes. The survey classifies business size as small (0-19 employees), medium (20-99 employees) and large (100+ employees).

Canadian Businesses Online in 2012

  • 87% of all surveyed used the Internet for business.
  • 96% of Canadian companies with more than 10 employees used the Internet for business.
  • 76% of companies that do not use the Internet for business said it was because they didn’t need it (primarily those with less than 10 employees).
  • Virtually all Canadian businesses use a high-speed internet connection. Under 4% use a dial-up modem.
  • 54% of large enterprises use a fibre optic connection.
  • Just under half of Canadian businesses shopped online in 2012.
  • 39% utilize multiple types of Internet connections.

Canadian Internet Sales Statistics for 2012

The following statistics include all sales initiated online, even if they were completed offline.

  • 11% of Canadian businesses sold online in 2012, an increase of 8% from 2007.
  • 4% ($122 billion) of total sales (goods and services) were made through eCommerce channels, more than doubling 2007 online sales.
  • 35% of businesses selling online were in Canada’s information and cultural industries sector, the highest of all sectors.
  • 61% of online sales were within three sectors: manufacturing, wholesale and retail, with wholesale scoring the highest sales value at $44.6 billion.
  • 30.5% of large enterprises sold products or services online.  Large enterprises grabbed 59.1% (approximately $71.9 billion) of Canadian online sales in 2012.
  • 19.6% of medium-size businesses sold products or services online, accounting for 23.6% of Canadian online sales.
  • 10.1% of small businesses sold products or services online, claiming 17.3% of online sales in Canada.

Percentage of enterprises selling online by North American Classification System

  1. Information and cultural industries 35.4%
  2. Educational services 30.2%
  3. Arts, entertainment and recreation 25.5%
  4. Wholesale trade 21.3%
  5. Accommodation and food services 17.2%
  6. Retail trade 17.0%
  7. Other services (except public administration) 15.0%
  8. Manufacturing 13.6%
  9. Private sector 11.3%
  10. Administrative and support, waste management and remediation services 11.0%
  11. Finance and insurance 10.4%
  12. Management of companies and enterprises 10.3%
  13. Real estate and rental and leasing 8.6%
  14. Transportation and warehousing 8.2%
  15. Professional, scientific and technical services 7.8%
  16. Construction 4.8%
  17. Health care and social assistance 3.7%
  18. Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting 3.5%Canadian Business Technology, Internet and eCommerce Statistics

Online Marketing by Canadian Businesses in 2012 Statistics

Statistics indicate some sectors are more likely than others to utilize the Internet in sales and marketing, with business-to-consumer (B2C) companies leading the way.  The alarmingly low utilization of the Internet by small businesses in Canada reported in other surveys, is reflected in the Statistics Canada report.

  • 45% of all surveyed had a website in 2012.
  • 80% of Canadian businesses with more than 10 employees had a website.
  • 54% of companies in the retail sector had a website.
  • 25% used an online form to collect customer information.
  • 22% used paid search to promote their business website.
  • 35% advertised their website offline.
  • 33% of Canadian businesses had social media integration on their site (sharing buttons, log-in, etc.)
  • 34% used social media networks to promote their website

Mobile Usage of Canadian Businesses in 2012

  • 53% used mobile devices (tablets, smartphones, etc.)
  • 31% had a computer network.
  • 77% of the Canadian information and cultural industry use mobile devices.
  • 70% of the Canadian scientific and technical services sector use mobile devices.

Use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT’s) by Canadian Businesses in 2012

  • 12% of all surveyed use Customer (or supplier) Relationship Management (CRM) tools.
  • 41% of large enterprises use Customer (or supplier) Relationship Management (CRM) tools.
  • 5% of all surveyed companies in Canada use Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.
  • 35% of large enterprises use Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.
  • 86% of information and communications technology users indicated they purchased them off-the-shelf.
  • 10% customized off-the-shelf ICT’s to meet their specific requirements.
  • 21% of users created fully customized ICT solutions.
  • 56% of Canadian ICT users said the main benefit was “an increased ability to respond to customer or supplier requirements.”
  • 52% of Canadian businesses using information and communications technology reported increased information sharing and improved data management.  Larger companies saw the most significant changes.

Capital Expenditures on Technology by Canadian Businesses

  • 52% purchased information and communications technology services in the past three years.
  • 31% purchased website hosting and design services in the past three years.
  • 51% purchased information and communications technology goods and services from 2010 to 2012.
  • 47% purchased computer hardware from 2010 to 2012.
  • 16% purchased customized computer software from 2010 to 2012.
  • 18% used funds for network operating systems or equipment from 2010 to 2012.

With eCommerce becoming critical to the success of businesses in this country, we need to have these surveys conducted more often by Statistics Canada.  Technology is changing far too rapidly to have five years between surveys.

Comment on Canadians Internet BusinessHow do these statistics reflect the practices in your business?  Please tell us about it in the comments below.

Source:  Statistics Canada

✔ You may also be interested in reading:

Canadian Online Retail (eCommerce) Statistics & Tips
2013 Online Shopper Statistics Reveal Issues with Canada’s E-Retailers
Help for the 54% of Canadian Small Businesses Without a Website (Statistics)
Mobile Advertising Jumps by Over 75% in Canada (Statistics)
Canadian E-Commerce Sales Growth Will Outpace US (Statistics)


© – Content on this website (all or in part) may NOT be used elsewhere without expressed permission. Content theft will result in legal action. Thank you for respecting the effort that we have put into our original content.

DISCLOSURE: We may receive compensation for links to products on this website.

COMMENTS ARE MODERATED – Legitimate comments will be published after a short delay. Spam will not be published.

Digital Business & Marketing Manager at Online Business Canada | Website | + posts

Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In over 20 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and eCommerce websites.

Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on, and, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.

Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Winny Larkspur

I have the hardest time applying data and you really help with that. I need to understand online marketing better before I feel comfortable shoosing a marketing expert to promote my business. It’s alot to absorb!


Why do we like to do things the hard way in Canada? It’s time to step out of the safe zone Canada!


B2B online sales look the most promising of all looking at the percentages of businesses that shop online.

Corey Burke

There is SO much money that could be made in this country if just a little was done to help businesses get online and selling. Courses, seminars, fair shipping prices and more could really put Canada in the lead.


Canada really needs to get on the tech wagon before it gets left behind! It’s statistics like this that bring it all home.

Susan Robertson

I’m not a big fan of statistics for anything but general interest but I do like Canadian ones slightly more. At least this has a big sample size. Thanks for including them all instead of picking and choosing for an article.


That’s a lot of useful stats you’ve got there! I agree we need them more often to keep up. Thanks for organizing them for easy reading, I can only absorb so many stats in paragraphs before my brain freezes :-/.