Statistics Canada is reporting that Canadian businesses with five or more employees in 2021 grossed $398 billion in e-commerce sales, roughly 30 per cent higher than in 2019 ($305 billion), the year preceding the start of the pandemic.
This also marked a nearly four-fold increase in e-commerce sales over the past decade, when sales reached $106 billion in 2012, said the federal agency.
“Industries with a greater amount of business-to-business transactions dominated e-commerce sales. The manufacturing sector accounted for nearly one-quarter of all e-commerce sales ($105 billion), followed by wholesale trade ($77 billion) and transportation and warehousing ($51 billion). In addition, the retail trade sector grossed $35 billion in e-commerce sales over the same period, an increase of nearly 60 per cent since 2019 ($22 billion),” it said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the utility of digital technology use among Canadian businesses. Since the onset of the pandemic, work and business transactions have increasingly been conducted virtually rather than in-person. This has continued through 2021 for many businesses, as the pandemic has emphasized the need to use digital technologies to adapt to new realities.”
The Survey of Digital Technology and Internet Use (SDTIU) 2021 also said 33 per cent of Canadian businesses had at least some e-commerce sales in 2021, marking an increase from 2019, when 25 per cent received or made sales of goods or services over the Internet.
Canadian businesses with e-commerce sales grossed, on average, $3.7 million in sales over the Internet in 2021, however this varied greatly by size of business. Large businesses reported, on average, $79 million in gross e-commerce sales, while medium-sized businesses reported $4.2 million and small businesses reported $580,000, added StatsCan.
“Beyond the growth in e-commerce, the pandemic has emphasized the need to use digital technologies. As such, in 2021, more Canadian businesses used information and communication technologies (85 per cent) compared with 2019 (80 per cent). Some of the most used technologies were company-wide computer networks (53 per cent), industry specific software (46 per cent) and Internet-connected smart devices (22 per cent).”
“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is evident in the increase in the number of workplaces offering remote working. One-third (33 per cent) of Canadian businesses offered some or all their employees the option to telework in 2021, an increase of 14 percentage points compared with 2019 (19 per cent). Nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of large businesses allowed teleworking in 2021, compared with 53 per cent of medium-sized and 27 per cent of small businesses,” added the federal agency.
(Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran of the media industry for more than 40 years and named in 2021 a Top Ten Business Journalist in the world and only Canadian)
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