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E-commerce: Shopping on the Internet

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The Daily

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Canadians used the Internet to purchase goods and services in 2007, placing almost $12.8 billion worth of orders, up 61% from 2005.

This increase was driven by a larger volume of orders, which rose from 49.4 million in 2005 to 69.9 million in 2007. The proportion of orders placed with Canadian vendors declined slightly from 57% of the total in 2005 to 52% in 2007.

More than 8.4 million Canadians aged 16 and over made an online purchase in 2007, up from nearly 6.9 million in 2005. They accounted for 32% of Canadians in this age group, compared with 28% in 2005.

Not all online consumers participated equally. The top 25% of "online consumers," who spent an average of $5,000 during 2007, were responsible for 46% of orders and 78% of the total dollar value.

Internet shoppers were also more likely to pay directly online. About 82% paid directly online for some or all of their purchases, up from 75% in 2005.

Even so, 77% of these online consumers expressed concern about online credit card use.

Number and value of orders
  20051 20072
Internet users (thousands) 16,775 19,233
Online consumers (thousands) 6,888 8,404
Number of orders    
Total number (thousands) 49,425 69,886
Average number 7.2 8.3
Value of orders    
Total value ($ thousands) 7,924,407 12,772,147
Average value ($) 1,150 1,520
Average value per order ($) 160 183
1.Canadians aged 18 and over.
2.Canadians aged 16 and over.
Note:Readers are cautioned when comparing results to the 2005 survey, which was restricted to people aged 18 and older. In 2007, respondents aged 16 and 17 accounted for about 2% of the total online orders and 1% of their dollar value.

Note to readers

The 2007 Canadian Internet Use Survey was conducted as a supplement to the Labour Force Survey.

More than 26,500 Canadians aged 16 and over were asked about their Internet use for a 12-month period. This release features electronic shopping, the number and value of online orders. For information on other Internet uses, see The Daily of June 12, 2008.

Readers are cautioned when comparing results to the 2005 survey, which was restricted to people aged 18 and older. While most individuals aged 16 and 17 used the Internet in 2007, just one-quarter (25%) made an online order. Individuals aged 16 and 17 accounted for about 2% of the total online orders and 1% of their dollar value in 2007.


Internet user: Someone who accessed the Internet from any location for personal, non-business reasons during a 12-month reference period.

Online consumer: Refers to someone who ordered at least one product using the Internet, with or without online payment.

Top online consumer: Refers to someone in the top 25% or quartile of the distribution of online consumers by expenditure.

Window shopper: Someone who reported going online to browse for goods or services without an online order.

All monetary values are in current Canadian dollars.

Albertans heaviest online shoppers

Among those Canadians aged 16 and over who used the Internet in 2007, 44% made an online order. This proportion is lowered slightly by including those aged 16 and 17 in the 2007 survey. Regionally, Internet users from Alberta were the heaviest online shoppers in 2007, with one-half placing an online order.

While the vast majority (97%) of teenagers aged 16 and 17 used the Internet, only 25% used it to make an online order.

Demographically, Internet users aged 25 to 34 were the heaviest online consumers, with more than one-half (51%) ordering online.

More paying directly online

The most common types of online orders were travel services, books and magazines, other entertainment products such as concert tickets, and clothing, jewellery and accessories.

About 82% of online consumers paid directly over the Internet, using a credit or debit card, for some or all of their purchases in 2007, an increase from 75% in 2005.

Internet supports retail

For many Canadians, the Internet has become a supplement to traditional retail shopping more than a substitute.

In 2007, 43% of Canadians logged on to do research on products, or to "window shop." Of these window shoppers, a majority (64%) reported that they had subsequently made a purchase directly from a store.

The most popular items for browsing were consumer electronics, such as cameras and VCRs; housewares, such as large appliances and furniture; and clothing, jewellery and accessories.

Security concerns persist

In 2007, one-half (50%) of all Canadians, whether or nor they went online, reported that they were very concerned about online credit card use.

This level of concern dropped to 34% among those who had actually made an order (with or without online payment), and it was even lower (30%) among the minority who were the "top online consumers."

These levels were higher in 2005 for all three groups. Survey results showed that Canadians were less likely to be very concerned about security if they had used the Internet longer and for more activities.

Canadians were more experienced users in 2007, with 54% reporting five or more years of Internet use, up from 45% in 2005. Among the "top online consumers," 91% had used the Internet for five or more years in 2007.

Available on CANSIM: tables 358-0135 to 358-0138.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 4432.

For further information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Larry McKeown (613-951-2582;, Science, Innovation and Electronic Information Division.