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Coronavirus pandemic drives in-store sales down, online retail up in Canada: new yStats.com report

Germany-based business research firm yStats.com’s new publication, “Canada B2C E-Commerce and Payment Market 2020 & COVID-19’s Impact,” reports that the North American nation is undergoing a move to online retail, with consumers impelled by the health crisis to stay at home. Online sales are expected to be roughly a fifth higher in 2020 compared to 2019.

Online sales double in Canada during the pandemic

Canadian consumers turned to online commerce during the confinement period imposed in March and April. Total retail sales plummeted compared to the same months in 2019, while online sales soared, more than doubling in April over the figure from the same month last year, with the result that online retail’s share doubled to constitute about a tenth of total retail sales. The yStats.com report indicates that the share of online commerce in Canada initiated by smartphones is continuing to increase.

Appliances and home improvement goods lead product category growth

The vertiginous growth of online retail during the pandemic has not been even across product categories. While food and survival commodities saw the largest increases in most countries worldwide, in Canada it was appliances, electronics, home decoration and DIY building materials that saw a manifold increase in online orders, as consumers sought entertainment and found time to take on home improvement projects during their confinement. The yStats.com report also indicates that food and restaurant delivery orders more than doubled in March and April. In addition, Canadian consumers increased their cross-border shopping during the pandemic.

Leading E-merchants respond to the growth in orders

The major online merchants benefitted from the increase in purchases during the health crisis. Amazon.ca and Walmart, the top digital merchants, experienced a dramatic increase in orders in March and April compared to February, before the start of the pandemic. The yStats.com publication reports that Canada Tire, the country’s largest domestic online merchant, saw its website visits more than double and its orders surge during the height of the pandemic, and the company instituted curbside pickup at its brick and mortar stores for goods ordered online. Regarding payments, credit and debit cards remained the most popular means used to pay for online goods, and electronic transfers via Interac have seen a surge during the pandemic.