October 13, 2011, 3:29 PM

E-commerce spending in Canada tops $15 billion

But a quarter of consumers prefer going to stores for purchases.

Thad Rueter

Senior Editor

Lead Photo

Online shoppers in Canada last year spent C$15.30 billion (US$15.02 billion) on goods and services purchased over the Internet, according to a report from Statistics Canada, the agency that conducts the country’s census and collects economic data.

Though the 2010 web spending figures represent a slight, 1.3% increase over the C$15.10 billion (US$14.82 billion) reported for 2009, Ben Veenhof, an analyst for the agency, warned against comparing the figures from last year with previous reports.

That’s because Statistics Canada significantly redesigned its e-commerce spending survey for 2010, he says; in general, previous surveys measured online activities only from home, while the most recent survey also measured online activities from other locations accessed in some cases from mobile devices.

That said, the agency previously reported C$12.8 billion (US$12.56 billion) in e-commerce spending in 2007.

The agency based its 2010 estimates on surveys conducted late last year of 30,700 households and 22,623 individual consumers.

The survey found that 51% of web users in Canada used the Internet to order products or services in 2010. That year, Canadian consumers placed 114 million web orders; on average, consumers made 10 web orders during 2010, with an average total order value of $1,362 per consumer.

Most of those shoppers, or 83%, placed orders with e-commerce operators located in Canada. 60% of respondents said they placed orders with merchants and service providers in the United States, while 18% placed orders with companies located in other countries.

89% of the shoppers used credit cards to pay for online orders, while 31% used an online payment service. Consumers could give more than one answer to these questions.

“Nearly three-quarters (74%) of Internet users window shopped online, or browsed for information on goods or services, without necessarily placing an order,” the agency says in its report.

The Statistics Canada survey also found that of those respondents who did not shop online, 32% cited lack of interest, 26% said they liked to shop at stores, and 19% worried about online security

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