Canada Email Commerce 2021

A Renaissance for the Inbox

Executive Summary

Email lost its central position in the promotional marketing mix years ago—or so some believed. These days, the opposite is true: The email address acts as a primary digital credential in the customer journey. As new privacy regulations and tech platform policies make it increasingly difficult to target consumers with paid media, the primacy of first-party data assets is clear, and email addresses sit at the top of the list.

How many people in Canada use email?

We don’t forecast email usage in Canada, but we do have a good picture of how pervasive it is. Worldwide, more than 4 billion people use email, per Radicati Group estimates. Recent studies found penetration to be about 85% in Canada, where we calculate the user base will be nearly 29 million strong this year.

What makes email a critical tool for retailers?

Retailers rely on email the most, and even more so now, due to the ecommerce boom that started in 2020 and continues this year. Collecting email addresses, whether at the physical point-of-sale or during checkout online, creates a digital identifier for customers that complies with domestic privacy regulations.

What techniques and trends will email marketing see in 2021 and beyond?

Retailers looking to personalize email communication have turned to pinpoint targeting and segmenting lists based on purchase history, digital behaviors, stated interests, and demographic data.

What regulations and policies should email marketers be aware of?

Privacy reform is underway in Canada and could affect marketers as soon as next year. The proposed changes will bring digital communication rules more in line with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This may be good for the medium, however: Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) has dramatically improved email performance since taking effect in 2014.

KEY STAT: Nearly 9 in 10 people ages 15 and older in Canada said they used email in the past three months, making it the top digital activity in the country, according to March 2021 polling by Statistics Canada.

Here’s what’s in the full report


Exportable files for easy reading, analysis and sharing.


Reliable data in simple displays for presentations and quick decision making.

8expert perspectives

Insights from industry and company leaders.

    Table of Contents

    1. Executive Summary
    2. A Personal and Pervasive Medium
    3. A Renaissance for Email Marketing
    4. Navigating Regulations and Policies with Smart Email Execution
    1. Personalization: 4 Use Cases from Canada
    2. Key Takeaways
    3. Insider Intelligence Interviews
    4. Read Next
    1. Sources
    2. Media Gallery

    Interviewed for This Report

    George Adamidis
    Rosedale Digital Marketing
    Founder and President
    Interviewed July 12, 2021
    Michael Gawtrey
    Home Hardware Stores Limited
    Director, Customer Relationship Management and Loyalty
    Interviewed July 20, 2021
    Jeff Ginsberg
    The eMail Company
    Interviewed June 21, 2021
    Rajat Khanna
    Lowe’s Canada
    Vice President, IT
    Interviewed July 23, 2021
    Frederick Lecoq
    Sporting Life Group
    Interviewed June 22, 2021
    Jennifer Lee
    Canadian Managing Partner, Growth Businesses
    Interviewed June 23, 2021
    Geoff Linton
    Interviewed June 3, 2021
    Stewart Schaefer
    Sleep Country Canada
    Interviewed July 23, 2021

    Access full deck

    View a slide-show representation of this report’s key insights, where carefully vetted data is combined with industry trend analysis, included at no extra cost.
    Download PPTX
















    Access All Charts and Data

    Gain access to reliable data presented in clear and intelligible displays for quick understanding and decision making on the most important topics related to your industry, included at no extra cost.


    Paul Briggs


    Suzy Davidkhanian
    Principal Analyst, Retail & Ecommerce
    Jeremy Goldman
    Principal Analyst
    Angela Kim
    Senior Researcher

    "Behind the Numbers" Podcast