Canada Ecommerce 2020

Digital Retail Propelled by COVID-19 Quarantines

About This Report
Ecommerce’s share of total retail in Canada is higher than we previously expected, as brick-and-mortar outlets are forced to shutter and online shopping becomes a necessity.

Executive Summary

We previously expected retail ecommerce’s share of total retail in Canada to be 7.7% in 2020 but have revised it to be 8.7%. COVID-19’s massive disruption to physical retail will cause heavy declines in Q2 and 2020 overall. In response, consumers are turning to ecommerce options to meet their essential shopping needs.

What is the impact of COVID-19 on retail and ecommerce in 2020?

We expect Canada’s retail sector to shrink by 6.2% in 2020, more than double the drop in 2009 during the global financial crisis. In Q2, we forecast the decline will be 15.5%. Ecommerce activity has picked up significantly and is helping to mitigate some of these losses.

How much will consumers in Canada spend on ecommerce in 2020?

Retail ecommerce will reach CA$52.04 billion ($39.22 billion) this year. That’s up 20.7% from last year and will represent 8.7% of all retail sales.

How much of that is mcommerce?

Mobile will make up more than one-third of ecommerce sales, or 33.1%, with retail mobile sales anticipated to grow 26.6% this year. Along with ecommerce, mcommerce is getting a lift from mandated quarantines.

What retail categories are most impacted?

Virtually every retail sector is experiencing reduced consumer spending, with the exception of grocery. Massive spikes in grocery spending occurred in late March and early April. Online ordering of groceries, previously not well adopted in Canada, has also experienced heavy growth.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report covers our latest forecasts for retail ecommerce, mcommerce and digital buyers in Canada, factoring in the short- and long-term effects of COVID-19.

KEY STAT: Ecommerce will account for 8.7% of all retail in Canada in 2020, the result of a boost in online shopping during COVID-19.

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Paul Briggs


Zach Goldner
Junior Forecasting Analyst
Angela Kim
Senior Researcher
Rini Mukhopadhyay
Forecasting Analyst

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