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Growing B2C eCommerce Opportunities in Canada


Marketers that are seeking growth within the online North American marketplace should not underestimate the upside potential that's developing outside of the United States. In fact, while market saturation may be an issue in the region, new high-growth opportunities still exist.

Canada, with a population about one-tenth the size of the U.S. market, also has a significantly smaller business-to-consumer ecommerce market. But when viewed holistically, there's much more to consider than the mere market size.

This year, according to the latest market study by eMarketer, online sales of retail and travel products will reach $21.45 billion in the Canadian market -- that's compared to $343.43 billion in the United States.

That online revenue gives Canada a 2 percent share of all B2C ecommerce sales around the world, or 5.9 percent of the market in North America.

And while its worldwide share will drop slightly in coming years as emerging economies grow their online sales rapidly, Canada will gain share in its home continent as sales grow faster than in the U.S. market.

This year, growth in B2C ecommerce sales in Canada will already outpace the U.S. market, at 14.3 percent vs. 13.8 percent, and Canada will widen that gap in coming years.

Online sales in Canada is far from being saturated -- the market is not as mature as in the U.S., where a long history of catalog sales, better shipping infrastructure and other factors made online buying easy.

eMarketer estimates that this year, 71.6 percent of internet users in the U.S. market will make a purchase online -- that's compared with 60.8 percent of internet users in Canada.

By 2016, it's estimated that market penetration in the U.S. will rise by less than 6 percentage points to 77 percent, while the reach of online buying in Canada will go up more than 9 points to 70.1 percent.

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