Canada's E-commerce Market still underdeveloped

UTRECHT | Canada's e-commerce market still underdeveloped, report says. Canadian businesses aren't exploiting the selling power of the Internet, a government report suggests.

Although Canada's consumers are among the most connected in the world, our businesses lag behind their U.S. counterparts in fully harnessing the power of e-commerce, a federal government report suggests. Smartphone use penetration should reach 100 per cent in Canada by 2014 and more than half of Canada's connected households used more than one type of device to go online in 2010, according to a new report by the standing committee on industry, science and technology. And the value of Canada's e-commerce market hit $15.3 billion in 2010, nearly double the 2005 level, the study found.

Canadian businesses themselves are big e-commerce users, with 71 per cent of SMBs making online purchases in 2011. Yet only 18 per cent of SMBs reported selling goods and services online. Among SMBs who did report Web-based sales, most (72.5 per cent) said online transactions made up 25 per cent or less of their overall sales. “Despite the growth on the consumption side, we punch well below our weight in creating global online companies,” Michael Geist, Canadian research chair in Internet and e-commerce law at the University of Ottawa, told the committee last fall according to the report.

One of the reasons for Canada's lagging e-commerce sector is that we invest far less in technologies than our large foreign competitors, the study suggests. “Selling products online is not yet popular among Canadian (SMBs),” the report states. “The underdevelopment of online sales by (SMBs) mirrors the fact that Canadian businesses generally tend to ...

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