“We will more than likely double our online business next year,” says Dwaine Chamberlain, e-commerce specialist and webmaster at Boathouse Row Inc., an apparel retail chain operator based in Iron Lake, Ontario. Chamberlain’s projection is similar to those made by numerous Canadian online retailers, who collectively have seen their online sales accelerate in recent years.
Web sales by Canadian retailers are on pace to grow 42% in 2017, Internet Retailer estimates, based on figures released by Statistics Canada for the January-May period. That’s a rate three times greater than the e-retail sales growth rate in Canada when factoring in all online retailers active in the market, regardless of where they are headquartered. Nine of the 10 largest online retailers active in Canada are based in the United States, led by Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500.
While web sales in Canada are projected to continue growing overall, U.S. retailers and others will see their share of the Canadian market shrink. In the newly published research report, “The Canada 100,” Internet Retailer estimates Canadian consumers this year will spend 43.9% of their digital dollars with online retailers based in Canada, up from 35.2% in 2016.
The shift among Canadian consumers to shop more with e-retailers based in Canada is reflected in growth many online retailers ranked in the Canada 100 say they are experiencing. The Canada 100 ranks the largest Canadian online retailers by their web sales.
Montreal-based Golf Avenue sells used golf gear last year primarily to consumers in Canada and the United States. General manager Emile Chartrand says sales are tracking to rise 30%-40% this year. Golf Avenue first sold on the web via eBay Inc. in 2006, and then launched GolfAvenue.ca in 2012 and GolfAvenue.com to target U.S. shoppers in 2016. The majority of its sales come from Canadian consumers. Golf Avenue is No. 59 in the Canada 100.
Boathouse, which ranks No. 64 in the Canada 100, began taking e-commerce more seriously about three years ago, Chamberlain says. Boathouse has about 80 stores across Canada. “Eight out of 10 people in Canada know Boathouse. We have that brand awareness,” he says. The Boathouse website was getting a “ton of free traffic but we were not converting it.” Site improvements, such as overhauling its navigation, are helping change that, Chamberlain says.
Other Canada 100 e-retailers are also enhancing their presence online. For instance, The Shopping Channel, owned by Rogers Communications Inc. and No. 5 in the Canada 100, rebranded as Today’s Shopping Choice this spring to attract younger shoppers.
The Canada 100 profiles the largest Canada-based retailers—Hudson’s Bay Co. leads the list—and includes the results of a survey of Canadian consumers that reveals how and why they shop online. Find out more about the leaders in Canadian e-commerce, their strategies and growth plans in The Canada 100.