One of the effects of the pandemic during 2020 was an increase in e-commerce sales in Canada which can be attributed to store closures and shopping restrictions. During 2021 total Canadian e-commerce sales reached 6.9%, a rise from 3.9% pre-pandemic. After the increase at the beginning of the pandemic e-commerce sales have declined from their peak.
Health and personal care stores saw slower growth in e-commerce sales during the pandemic when compared to other sectors. Many products were deemed essential which allowed consumers to continue to make purchases in stores rather than online. After peaking in the third quarter of 2020 they began to decline as in-store sales approached pre-pandemic levels. Digital online sales in Canada were down 8% year over year in the first quarter of 2023 as reported by Salesforce. In Canada both traffic and order volume are decreasing.
“Now we’re seeing in North American – Canada and the U.S. – very similar behaviour. So we’re starting to see drops or flatness happening in digital commerce. It is really being driven by two main factors. A decrease in traffic and a decrease in order volumes” says Caila Schwartz, Director of Consumer Insights and Strategy, Retail & Consumer Goods at Salesforce. “The amount spent per visit is declining and we’re seeing this in Canada as well as on a Global scale”.
Brick and Mortar is still dominant for most consumers and 87% of retailers find that in-store shopping is the most profitable.