E-commerce & Shopping Trends of Canada

Between Canada and the US, travel is super simple and fast, so shouldn’t the shipping be too? While the two are neighboring countries, shipping rates can get ridiculously high and the customs can get complicated too due to different import/export rules for each. But there’s no need to worry, we have great news! You can still take on clients, send business orders, and ship to Canada at affordable prices with PackageHopper.

PackageHopper is here to make shipping from the US to Canada—whether it’s for business or for pleasure—a smooth and well-priced process for everyone. This includes walking you through all the paperwork and package prep to ensure a smooth delivery into Canada.

With the logistical aspect out of the way, you’re ready to tackle new business ventures from Canadian clientele and spread your entrepreneurial wings! Let’s see what e-commerce and shopping trends are on the up and up in Canada.

E-commerce in Canada

The e-commerce market has been growing constantly over the past 10 years, and more and more Canadians choose to shop online instead of going to stores. 
In the first half of 2021, Canadians have spent almost US$30 billion on products online, and by late 2019, 28,1 million Canadians shopped online, and e-commerce sales reached almost CA$1.85 billion. About 80% of Canadians like to shop both online and in physical stores, with the younger generations preferring online shopping, and the baby boomers leaning more towards in-person shopping. However, the differences are not very insignificant so don’t let that deter you from targeting the older demographic for your new products.

What Do Canadians Like to Buy?

No matter your niche, make sure to have better offers than your competitors (especially local Canadian businesses) because everyone loves competitive prices. Consider this especially if your business is in the top-selling categories for consumers in Canada: Clothing/Apparel is by far the most popular category among Canadians, followed by Self-care, Electronics, Travel, Hobbies, Toys and DIY, and Books

The fashion industry reached a worth of around CA$35 billion in 2019. Canadians prefer to buy private label clothing over any big names. This is exciting news if your business is a small label specializing in hand-knitted sweaters or any cold-weather accessories—you could seamlessly expand your customer base and start offering to ship to Canadian shoppers who would be looking for your sweaters for the notoriously freezing temps!

Regarding popular chain stores, Hudson’s Bay is one of the most visited websites amongst Canadian shoppers for clothing, home décor, and accessories. It has around 9.6 million visitors per month and reached a worth of CA$542 million in 2018. 

Next in line is Etsy for small businesses, then BestBuy, Costco, Home Depot, and eBay for a variety of items. Canadian Tire has 43.9 million visits monthly and Amazon takes first place with 181 million visits per month and a net worth of US$1050 million in 2019.

With the pandemic going on, online stores noticed an increased interest in more diverse product categories such as grocery, footwear, pet supplies, collectibles, furniture, automotive, etc. Take notes on these consumer trends, they’re great indicators of what product offerings you might want to consider if expanding to Canada.

While around 37% prefer to buy from domestic sites if possible, that leaves 63% looking for the best products from anywhere. That leaves a lot of space for your brand or businesses to move into and cater to those who prefer quality, customer service, and delivery over anything else.

A Little Bit About Canada’s Economy

Canada has a strong, highly developed mixed economy, which means there are options available for people from all paths of life. According to World Bank data, it is the 9th largest GDP by nominal ($1,88 trillion in 2021) and the 15th largest GDP by PPP ($1,97 trillion) in the world. Do you need more incentive to start shipping there as soon as possible?

Device Usage and Payment Methods

M-commerce (e-commerce conducted via mobile phones) in Canada brought around CA$20 billion in revenue in 2020, compared to CA$57 billion for desktop online purchasing. This means there is huge growth in digital transfers of money, whether it be bank transfers via mobile banking apps, loyalty cards or in-app purchasing. 
A survey held among 2000 adult (18+) Canadian internet users discovered that 73% of respondents used their computers to make online purchases, and only 25% percent used a tablet or a mobile phone for online shopping. 

When it comes to payment, 62% use cards to pay, 18% use their digital wallets, 12% bank-to-bank transfer, 5% prefer to pay with cash, and 3% of the respondents did not specify any preferred methods. So, while m-commerce is growing, many in the adult demographic are still online shopping as usual. If this is your target customer base, there’s not much you’ll need to adjust in your accepted payment methods. Reaching customers in Canada is even easier than we previously thought!

Packaging, Duties, and Taxes

With all this talk about consumer trends and transactions, let’s get into the details of your actual product.

A big factor before deciding on accepting orders from Canadian customers is whether you can ship them! Don’t forget to check the list of restricted items here

Then head over and learn about the nitty-gritty of preparing your shipment for how to package your shipment properly, any value limits, and tips to describe your package as accurately as possible to avoid confusion and delays with customs. 

Speaking of shipping and customs, here’s some good news for you—not every item gets taxed on imports. If your shipment is below Canada’s de minimus value, tax rates will not apply. 

De minimus value for duty is CA$150, and CA$40 for tax (this does not apply for alcohol and tobacco). 

But don’t worry, if all these numbers and rules confuse you, you can always reach out to our expert team here at PackageHopper by MyUS to answer any questions. Remember, we’re here to make the whole process of international shipping easy!

Shipping and Delivery Expectations

In 2016, Canadians didn’t mind waiting for over a week if the shipping was free. However, their expectations have grown since then, and the average Canadian online shopper does not want to wait over 3 days for a product to arrive at their home address. Keep this in mind when shipping because it is important to almost 50% of online shoppers. Lucky for them we have fast shipping options for you at affordable prices so there’s no stopping your business from growing!

Expectedly, just like most shoppers, Canadian shoppers want to know their package’s ETA, so a good tracking service is recommended. The shipping experience—as well as the condition of the package upon arrival—is crucial for Canadians. With these priorities in mind, we just know both you and your new Canadian customers are going love shipping with PackageHopper.

Customer Service Tips and Branding

There is a lot of competition out there so that makes it even more important that your customers know you care. Nobody likes to buy from a seller who is hard to reach or acts unreasonably. When thinking about expanding your business to another country, remember the time zones so you can make sure someone—you with all the different business hats: CEO, Customer Service, Packer, Shipper, Marketing, etc.—is always available to answer their inquiries or process their orders in a reasonable time.

You can also stand out with a distinct brand such as a memorable label or a small thank you note in their order.

We know you’ll figure out the best way to connect with your new Canadian customers, with PackageHopper on your team.


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