Canadian Online Retail Sales Up Almost 25% in First Half of 2012 [Statistics]

Canadian web-based and e-Commerce-enabled retail stores are enjoying growth that brick & mortar establishments can only dream of, according to a MasterCard Canada SpendingPulse (TM) Report that “demonstrates e-Commerce is the shining light in retail”.  All indicators suggest retail establishments in Canada would be well-advised to set up online shopping if they want to thrive.

In August, MasterCard Canada made its first public release of insights from SpendingPulse for the first six months of 2012.  SpendingPulse is a product of MasterCard Advisors, which highlights total retail sales across all payment forms including cash and cheque.  The report includes sales in four key retail categories: e-Commerce, Grocery, Department Stores and Gasoline.

According to the June, 2012 report, overall Canadian retail sales for the first six months of 2012 showed modest growth of 2.2% compared to the first six months of 2011. The impressive growth is in e-Commerce, which shot up 24.9%.  E-Commerce sales increased above the 20% threshold for the ninth consecutive month.Canadian Online Retail Sales Statistics

“While overall retail sales growth in Canada has been modest through the first half of the year, the e-Commerce growth rates are truly impressive. The growth in online sales is a good indicator of how Canadian retailers are capitalizing on the shift of sales from brick and mortar locations to online sales channels,”says Michael McNamara, Vice President of Research and Analysis for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse.

Taking advantage of this trend has never been easier. Start with our Checklist: How to Start an Online Store (eCommerce Business) in Canada.

While it may seem like an overwhelming task, it isn’t necessary to offer all of your merchandise online.  Search the internet for your products and pinpoint which markets are the least saturated, then offer your most unique products to online Canadian shoppers.  You can slowly build your catalogue over time with a focus on what is selling best for you.

The biggest advantage is your target market will open wide to include shoppers from all over Canada (or internationally).  It sure beats hoping someone will stop in when they walk by.

MasterCard Canada

??? Have you started your eCommerce holiday marketing yet?  How do you introduce early Christmas campaigns?

You may also be interested in reading:
How to Use Content Marketing to Skyrocket Holiday Sales
Start Holiday Online Marketing While Respecting Remembrance Day
Canadian Gift Guide: Online Entrepreneurs


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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, 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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It won’t be long before most people shop online. I already do almost all shopping online except for groceries. Yesterday I was looking for bulk Halloween candy in Canada and guess what? I couldn’t find any!!! Maybe a business idea for someone.


This excites me as a new netrepreneur too!

Logan Marshak

It’s the future even if Canadian businesses have to be dragged in kicking and screaming.

Gwen --- Langley, B.C.

The retail landscape is changing and we have to change with it. Canadians don’t like change much but we can spot a good opportunity with a careful eye.

Richard Thorne

I’m happy to hear that because I just started building an ecommerce website for housewares and you have a new fan.


A lot of businesses are afraid to tackle selling online but it can’t hurt to check into it and start small. My last employer used Godaddy and it was really easy to work with.


Good news! Canadian businesses are poorly represented online when you compare them to other countries but they could profit from it the most.