Ecommerce in Canada; new 2012 Stats Canada survey

Ecommerce in Canada; new 2012 Stats Canada survey

Stats Canada recently came out with their survey on e-commerce in Canada. The last time this survey was done was 5 years ago. A lot has changed in terms of online buying habits in the last 5 years; social commerce, local commerce, mobile commerce, the resurgence of couponing and deals, etc. The survey includes all e-commerce transactions, business and consumer. We have summarized some of the results of the survey for you below:


  • Canadian enterprises sold almost $122 billion of goods and services over the Internet in 2012.
  • This total was just over double the value of online sales in 2007
  • Overall, 11% of Canadian enterprises made sales of goods or services online in 2012, up from 8% in 2007.
  • Canada’s largest firms dominated the online selling market, accounting for about $71.9 billion or 59% of the value of total online sales.
  • Almost one-third (31%) of large enterprises sold online in 2012.
  • Overall, e-commerce sales accounted for 4% of total sales of goods and services by Canadian enterprises.
  • Almost half of Canadian enterprises made purchases of goods or services online in 2012.

Online presence & promotion

  • Overall, only 45% of Canadian businesses had a website in 2012 and 80% had a website if they had 10 or more employees
  • 22% of enterprises used paid search methods such as pay-per-click
  • 35% used more traditional print advertising methods to advertise
  • In 2012, 33% of businesses had integrated social media tools with their website, and 34% were using social media for promotion

Internet Usage

  • Almost 9 out of 10 (87%) Canadian enterprises reported using the Internet in 2012. Among enterprises with 10 or more employees, Internet use was almost universal, at 96%.
  • Small enterprises, including those with no employees, were least likely to use the Internet for business.
  • Almost all Canadian enterprises that used the Internet did so through a high-speed connection
  • 39% of enterprises in Canada used multiple connection types to access the Internet.
  • Dial-up Internet was used by less than 4% of enterprises.
  • Over half (54%) of large enterprises had a fibre optic connection to the Internet.

Use of digital technologies

  • More than half of Canadian enterprises (53%) used Internet-enabled mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets in 2012
  • 31% had a company-wide computer network in place.
  • 5% of small enterprises in Canada used ERP software and 12% used a CRM in 2012.
  • 41% of large enterprises used CRM software and 35% used ERP software.
  • 86% of businesses indicated that they acquired off-the-shelf technology, 10% modified or customized off-the-shelf technology, and 21% programmed or built their own custom solutions.
  • Nearly half (48%) of enterprises in the IT sector built their own custom ICT solutions.
  • During the past three years, 52% of businesses bought ICT services, including 31% that spent on web design or hosting services.


These stats are all good and dandy, but the only number that really matters is the following: “Overall, e-commerce sales accounted for 4% of total sales of goods and services by Canadian enterprises.” Only 4%!!  E-commerce and Mobile commerce have a long, long, long growth curve in Canada and North America in general.