Canadian consumers spend $15.3B online last year

October 12, 2011
Oct. 14, 2011 - Canadian consumers spent approximately $15.3 billion in 2010 ordering goods or services for personal or household use, according to a survey released by Statistics Canada Wednesday. The report also looked at how Canadians use the Internet.

Here's the full release from StatsCan:

In 2010, 80 per cent of individuals aged 16 years and older used the Internet for personal use. Significant differences in use rates exist based on age, income, location and other factors.

Residents of British Columbia (86 per cent) and Alberta (84 per cent) reported the highest use rates. Rates were lowest in Newfoundland and Labrador (73 per cent) and New Brunswick (70 per cent).

Among individuals living in census metropolitan areas (CMA) or census agglomerations, 82 per cent used the Internet, compared with 72 per cent of those living outside of these areas. CMAs with the highest rates of use included Calgary, Saskatoon, Barrie, Ottawa–Gatineau, and Halifax (all at 88 per cent), as well as Vancouver and Victoria (both at 87 per cent).

Income and age divides

Households were classified into four equal groups (or quartiles), based on their household income. More individuals (94 per cent) living in households in the highest household income quartile used the Internet, compared with those living in households in the lowest quartile (59 per cent).

Individuals under the age of 45 had the highest rate of use, at 94 per cent, while 80 per cent of those aged 45 to 64 used the Internet. Among seniors, about one-half (51 per cent) of those aged 65 to 74 used the Internet, compared with 27 per cent of those aged 75 years and older.

Overall, Canadians are experienced Internet users, with almost one-half of users (47 per cent) having been online for 10 years or more. About three-quarters (76 per cent) used the Internet at least once a day in a typical month.

Mobile use

Among Internet users, one-third (33 per cent) went online with a wireless handheld device. These users tended to be younger and more experienced Internet users. The majority (59 per cent) were under the age of 35, and most (60 per cent) had 10 or more years of online experience. Nearly one-half (47 per cent) also came from households in the highest income quartile.


Seniors accounted for about one-half (51 per cent) of non-users. Nearly four in 10 non-users (39 per cent) came from households in the lowest income quartile.

A majority of non-users (62 per cent) said they did not use the Internet because they had no need or interest, did not find it useful, or did not have time. Over one-fifth (22 per cent) mentioned a lack of skills or training, or that they found the Internet or computers too difficult to use. Limited access to a computer (12 per cent), cost of service or equipment (9 per cent) or age (9 per cent) were other reasons cited for not going online.

Online activities

A majority of Internet users went online to bank (68 per cent) or to read or watch the news (68 per cent). Many users obtained travel information or made travel arrangements online (65 per cent), visited or interacted with government websites (65 per cent), or searched for medical or health-related information (64 per cent).

Many participated in social media. A majority (58 per cent) used social networking sites, including 86 per cent of Internet users under the age of 35. Female users (62 per cent) were more likely than their male counterparts (54 per cent) to use social networking sites.

Electronic commerce

In 2010, 51 per cent of Internet users ordered goods or services for personal or household use. In total, Canadians placed nearly 114 million orders, valued at approximately $15.3 billion.

Among those who placed an order, individuals averaged about 10 orders over a 12-month period, with an average total value of $1,362 per person.

Of those who placed an order, 55 per cent purchased travel arrangements (for example, hotel reservations, travel tickets and rental cars) and 48 per cent ordered tickets for entertainment events.

Most shoppers (83 per cent) placed orders from companies in Canada, while 60% ordered from vendors in the United States, and 18 per cent from vendors in other countries.

When it came to paying for their purchases, 89 per cent used a credit card online, and 31 per cent used an online payment service.

Nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of Internet users window shopped online, or browsed for information on goods or services, without necessarily placing an order.

Reasons for not ordering online

Of those who did not place an order, nearly one-third (32 per cent) said that the main reason was that they had no interest, while 26 per cent preferred to shop in person, and almost one-fifth (19 per cent) cited security concerns.

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