Canadian eCommerce and Social Sales (Q1 2016 Data)

Online sales in Canada are expected to be stronger than ever in 2016. eTail Canada predicts that eCommerce sales in this country will top $34.04 billion this year. In their Q1 report, Demac Media suggests the typically slow first quarter is the perfect time for businesses to focus on social sales and segments experiencing growth. Doing so can position your online arm for a year of success.

eTailers are improving their social marketing strategies and it’s showing in their bottom line. Facebook leads the pack in retail discovery, customer engagement and website traffic. A major part of their lead is probably due to brands focusing their social marketing there as a safe bet, but there’s no denying its success.  Pinterest has fallen in traffic generation, suggesting the novelty may be wearing off for the network.  Pinterest has also been playing with its algorithm, which has had a negative effect on pin exposure according to many marketers.

Consumer traffic generated by social networks:

  1. Facebook 66%
  2. Pinterest 17%
  3. Twitter 3%
  4. Instagram 3%
  5. Sina Weibo 2%
  6. Other 9%

Social network ranking according to order value is an entirely different story. Here, YouTube reigns supreme and even the less-known platforms shine.

  1. YouTube $361
  2. Sina Weibo $209
  3. LinkedIn $197
  4. Polyvore $104
  5. Tumblr $98
  6. Facebook $96
  7. Yelp $78
  8. Twitter $76
  9. Pinterest $64
  10. Reddit $64

Canadian eCommerce and Social Sales - Q1 2016 Data

“Retailers are slowly aligning their strategies with the shift towards online engagement and consumption,” the report states. “Platforms that allow for interactive experiences like YouTube are where social performance drives higher sales.”

It’s clear that a diversified social media strategy based on tracked, actionable data will be the most successful. The key to success, however, will be in building a team with expertise in analytics, behavioral analysis, cross-platform marketing and conversion funnels, enhanced by talent for social engagement and customer relationship management.

Finding one person who can do it all well is rare, since it would require someone with what is considered to be conflicting personality types (analytical vs. socially inclined and creative). If you do find one of these unique creatures, treat them well so they stick around. It’s more likely that you’ll require at least two people, but you can try hiring them part-time and/or go with a remote contract if your budget is stretched. Keep in mind, however, that a skilled marketing staff doesn’t cost you money, it makes you money. This is one of those things that you must do in today’s online world, and it has to be done well.

Top Growing eCommerce Industry Segments by Province

Online sales from mass merchants rule the west and north in Canada:

Northern Territories, Nunavut, Yukon 26%
British Columbia 21%
Alberta 13%

Fashion is a popular online purchase in Canada:

Prince Edward Island 30%
New Brunswick 27%
Saskatchewan 23%

Sporting goods sales are strong online in several provinces:

Ontario 37%
Quebec 36%
Nova Scotia 29%
Manitoba 23%

The only province leading in online electronics sales in Canada was Newfoundland at 18%.

Need some guidance?

Here are a few expert resources to help you learn more about using social media for business success:

  • There are lots of free and low-cost courses available to help you learn online business and related subjects, such as online marketing.
  • Free LinkedIn training is available at LinkedU: How to Create a Massive LinkedIn Referral Network with THE Most Influential Players in Your Market.
  • The book Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Amazing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and More, was revised and expanded in 2015 and is perfect for social media novices.

Comment on Canadians Internet BusinessDo these numbers reflect your experience in online sales and social marketing in Canada? Please share you experience or questions in the comments below.

Source: Demac Media eCommerce Benchmark Report Q1 2016

Comment on Canadians Internet BusinessHow did your online sales do in the first quarter? Please share your experience in the comments below.


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Melody McKinnon
Digital Business & Marketing Manager at Online Business Canada | Website

Melody McKinnon is an internet entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in a wide range of online business models, backed by a formal business education and enhanced by training and mentorship. She has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available from all major ebook retailers.

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.

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The Youtube sales ARE surprising. I have to admit I don’t really do Youtube but apparently I should be. Maybe next year. We’re busy enough trying to set up ecommerce this year. Bby steps!

Oli Timmins

OK that youtube purchase number just blows me away! It’s like a best kept secret. You never hear about selling on youtube it’s just for promotion….or so I thought! Now to talk the boss into making more videos…….

Karen Phillips

I haven’t seen Canadian social selling data EVER! This is so very useful. I love this site!!!