September 29, 2010, 11:18 AM

Canadians are spending more online, and more often

Canadians placed orders online worth C$15.1 billion in 2009, up from C$12.8 billion in 2007.

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More Canadian consumers are shopping online more often, says a report issued by Statistics Canada, the government agency equivalent to the U.S. Census Bureau.  

The report found that Canadians spent C$15.1 billion (US$14.7 billion) in 2009 on goods and services, a 17.9% jump from C$12.8 (US$12.5 billion)  billion in 2007 when the survey was last conducted. Moreover, the volume of orders also grew—from 69.9 million in 2007 to 95.7 million in 2009, a 37% increase in two years.

The lone damper on the growth was the average order value declined 13.7%, from C$183 (US$178)  in 2007 to C$158 (US$154)  in 2009.

The survey says 39% of nation’s Internet users also are online shoppers, with larger concentrations of Internet users who shop online living in British Columbia (47%) and Alberta (45%). The report, compiled from the survey responses of more than 23,000 consumers age 16 and older, says 80% of all Canadians are online.

Travel services and entertainment ticketing are the top two categories purchased online by Canadian consumers. 49% of online shoppers purchased travel services in 2009, up from 45% in 2007, and 40% purchased entertainment products, which includes tickets, up from 32% in 2007. Other leading categories for Canadian consumers in 2009 were books, magazines and online newspapers (35%), clothing, jewelry and accessories (33%), music (26%) and computer software (22%).

Interestingly, while only 21% of Canadian online shoppers purchased consumer electronics online, the category had the highest percentage of window shoppers who researched online but purchased offline. And this percentage is increasing: 44% of Internet users in 2007 browsed electronics online; in 2009 it was 48%.

As more Canadians shop online, U.S.-based e-retailers are expanding into the Canadian market with dedicated sites for Canadian consumers. For instance, Shoe manufacturer Crocs Inc., No. 151 on Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide announced this week that it would launch an online storefront for Canadian shoppers, and Gap Inc., No. 23 in the Top 500 Guide, in August launched a Canadian online store for its Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy brands.

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