Consumers are spending more time, with increasing frequency, on an expanded range of digital activities.

“Data shows that four billion people - roughly 53% of the world’s population - is connected to the internet. In Canada, that number is almost 90%, making it the highest level of internet penetration among G20 countries,” says Jeewani Fernando, provincial consumer market analyst with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

Fernando says that despite having greater access to the internet, Canadians are relatively slow to adopt online purchases, especially in food and beverage categories.

“The lack of a well-developed e-commerce landscape in Canada is the main cause, but that will change as e-commerce initiatives continue to grow.”

She uses total Canadian online grocery purchases - $431.2 million in 2016 – as an example. “Out of that number, $139.5 million was spent on packaged food and beverage products. On a per capita spending level, that number is very low, working out to about $12 per internet user per year.”

Within this food and beverage category, Canadian consumers purchase packaged products the most online. Dairy products are the most purchased, followed by snacks, sauces and condiments, then dry groceries such as rice, noodles and pasta.

Fernando adds that the top reasons to purchase online reflects that consumers value convenience, competitive prices and greater variety of products.

“As the acceptance of purchasing dry and fresh groceries online continues to grow, so does the opportunity for Alberta small businesses and speciality retailers to sell more products online.

“Alberta, with a higher percentage of millennials, can expect a higher level of online transactions compared to other provinces once the e-commerce landscape is fully established in Canada.”

Read Consumer Corner’s E-Commerce Trends Online Consumer (PDF, 449 KB).


Connect with Jeewani Fernando:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-415-9773



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