Region/Countries: Canada, North America Industry: Multiple Sectors, Other Date: October 2017

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin companies should be aware of trends in the Canadian e-commerce market, which is growing rapidly.

E-commerce (online selling) presents opportunities for Wisconsin companies for both direct-to-consumer and business-to-business (B2B) transactions. A 2017 report notes the following:

  • As of 2016, the Canadian e-commerce market has grown 16.8 percent to $29.6 billion.
  • 53 percent of Canadian online shoppers made at least one cross-border purchase in the past year.
  • Nearly half of all B2B searchers are millennials.
  • During a 2012 survey, B2B purchasing was evenly mixed across age groups. In 2014, 18- to 34-year-olds accounted for almost half of all searchers, an increase of 70 percent.
  • B2B searchers who are not in the C suite influence purchase decisions; while 64 percent of the C-suite searchers have final signoff, so do almost a quarter (24 percent) of the non-C-suite searchers.
  • 71 percent of B2B purchasers start their research with a generic search.
  • Research shows that those involved in the B2B buying process are already 57 percent of the way to a decision before they'll actually perform an action on your site.
  • 42 percent of purchasers use a mobile device during the B2B purchasing process.
  • 70 percent of B2B buyers and searchers are watching videos throughout their path to purchase—a 52 percent increase in only two years.
  • Influencer content on blogs and social media is one of the most trusted types of advertising, Canadian consumers said in a recent survey; 74 percent of consumers report that they rely on social media to make purchasing decisions.

So, what does this mean for Wisconsin companies either currently selling online or planning to sell online? What should they consider?

  • Think about localization: is your product one that requires a different marketing approach for Canada, for either traditional or social media marketing?
  • Ensure your website, if it has purchasing capabilities, works across devices: desktop, tablet and mobile.
  • If you are considering selling direct-to-consumer via a third-party platform like Amazon, ensure you are compliant with both federal and provincial tax registrations.
  • Does your product/service lend itself well to video content/presentation?

While vast opportunities exist for Wisconsin companies to expand their sales online, a careful and strategic approach is recommended to capture retail or business customers in the Canadian market.

The State of eCommerce in Canada, by the Numbers by Melody McKinnon
Canadian Social Media Use and Online Brand Interaction (Statistics) by Melody McKinnon
Internet use in Canada by Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) 
Who is the Canadian online shopper? Insights to grow your business north of the border by Canada Post
The Changing Face of B2B Marketing by Kelsey Snyder and Pashmeena Hilal