J.C. Williams has taken an interest in where and how Canadian online shoppers purchase, committing to quarterly Canadian E-tail Shopping reports. The first of those reports, based on a survey of 1000 Canadians, was released in 2014.  The surprising statistic that arose from their research is Canadian online shoppers spend more in almost every category, whether they make the actual purchase online or in-store.

Where Canadians ShopCanadian Internet Shoppers Spend More, Both Online & Offline (Statistics)

  • 55% of Canadians shopped in Canada
  • 62% of online shoppers surveyed ordered items outside of Canada:
    US 33%
    Asia 8%
    Europe 3%

Canadians shop outside of Canada for three main reasons:

  1. 41% shop across the border to save money
  2. 23% enjoy a better selection of products
  3. 17% are after free or discounted shipping

81% of Canadians researched products or window-shopped online before purchasing in the past three months (which includes the Christmas season).

Canadians who shop online spent more in practically every category, whether they end up buying online or offline. There could be a number of reasons for that, such as the Internet attracting power-shoppers, 24/7 access to an endless number of products, constant exposure to advertising and marketing tactics, cross-channel options, and minimum purchase requirements to obtain shipping deals.

  • 1% of Canadian online shoppers spend more on electronics ($590 vs $586)
  • 10% spend more on clothing ($476 vs $432)
  • 16% spend more on toys & games ($300 vs $258)
  • 26% spend more on footwear ($306 vs $242)
  • 26% of Canadian web shoppers spend more on entertainment ($260 vs $206)
  • 36% spend more on beauty and health products ($484 vs $356)
  • 38% spend more on leisure and sports equipment ($528 vs $384)
  • 48% of online shoppers spend more money on home and kitchen merchandise ($282 vs $190)
  • 16% of Canadian online shoppers spend less on jewelry and watches ($240 vs $286)
  • 35% of web shoppers spend less on appliances ($203 vs $312)
  • 37% spend less on furniture than offline shoppers ($602 vs $955)

Canadian online shoppers spent considerably more on holiday gift shopping (both online and offline), handing over $726 compared to $382 spent by those who don’t shop online.

The critical point of this type of shopper behaviour data is the overwhelming potential of cross-channel strategies and personalized marketing communications. Online shoppers are spending more overall, not just online. Working that to your advantage will be increasingly lucrative. Those retailers who are having the most success with an effective cross-channel strategy are utilizing databases, automated personalization, and consistent interaction across multiple channels to bring shoppers in and keep them coming back.

Canadian Smartphone Shopping

Up to 5% of those surveyed used a Smartphone to make their last online purchase. Mobile device usage is continuously increasing in Canada, with current numbers at well over half. Mobile online shopping is expected to exceed desktop shopping by 2020 in Canada. It has become critical for retail websites to be mobile-friendly. Doing so goes beyond responsive web design to include newsletter formats, deal delivery, and cross-channel features.

If you need a hand with catering to mobile shoppers, there’s a good, free whitepaper available. “Is Your Mobile Website Ready for Prime Time” covers the four levels of mobile maturity, the “Mobile First” doctrine and how this benefits visitors, and recommendations for how your business can progress towards being “Mobile Friendly” or “Mobile First.”

Your mobile-friendly website and cross-channel strategy should be complimented by mobile marketing. The expected growth rate of Canadian mobile advertising will exceed 88% in 2014, according to eMarketer, closely reflecting 2013 growth.  If businesses don’t extend their budget to mobile advertising, they could easily be trumped by those who do.

Comment on Canadians Internet BusinessHow are you catering to online shoppers? What are your plans to increase online sales? Please share your comments or questions below.

Source: J. C. Williams Group

✔ You may also be interested in reading:
Canadians Spending More Online Than Ever (Stat’s & Infographic)
Mobile Advertising Jumps by Over 75% in Canada {Statistics}
Mobile Surpasses PC Use and Video Rules in Canada (Statistics)
Mobile Payment Processors Have Big Plans for Canada in 2014


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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 25 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available on Amazon.

Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net and AllNaturalPetCare.com, 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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Pure GENIUS! That kind of insight is just so valuable and I’ll put it to good use. Great job, thanks for sharing.

Maria Gaston

It makes sense but I had no idea! This data really changes how I view customer acquisition, thank U.

Bryan B.

I can believe that. The root is like you said power shoppers. If you want power shoppers you have to get their attention and serve there every need including a site.


Your link was in an article by the great Lynn Terry over on ClickNewz so I came for a visit. Glad I did! Awesome place for Canadian business owners and marketing pros, you’ve done a fantastic job. I recognize your writer too and that’s rare in Canada.
I just started a new job and we sure can use this information going forward. They’re practically doing business in a CAVE! lol