Transcript of the chat session on Retail E-commerce, which occurred on Thursday, November 24, 2016 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EST

Note: This was a bilingual chat session, which means that the participants were able to submit their questions in English or French. Statistics Canada respects the Official Languages Act and is committed to ensuring that information products of equal quality are available in both English and French. For that reason, all the questions and answers have been translated in the other official language.

 Moderator at 13:00:39
Welcome everyone! This is a bilingual chat session, which means that you can submit your questions in English or French. Our experts will respond in a timely manner and in the official language in which the question was asked.

 moule at 13:03:43
Are the e-commerce data gathered by survey or directly from the retailer?

 Moreno Da Pont at 13:08:32
Retail businesses that are part of the monthly retail sample are asked to report the value of sales generated via online transactions.

 jciconsult at 13:02:01
When are we going to get more seasonally adjusted detail at the provincial level? for example ex autos, gas When are we going to get more detail in the $K spacer? When are you going to develop an estimate of continuing locations and total locations?

 Matthew Briggs at 13:09:38
Hi jciconsult, we don't currently have plans to release seasonally adjusted data by industry and province. We are calculating these data for internal use, but have not yet incorporated them into our analytical databases.
There is a proposal to start releasing industry detail for the K$ series, but the details are still being discussed.
There are no current plans to split out the data by continuing or total locations.

 TER at 13:01:40
How do we know if major retailers such as Canadian Tire, Walmart, The Bay have seperately managed on-line operations.

 Fred Barzyk at 13:09:49
During our ongoing collection process and survey frame maintenance process, sampled businesses will indicate to us whether or not they have separate online operations and we follow up with them.

 jdurran at 13:06:22
My apologies but I have not had an opportunity to read the methodology release yet. Will the data you release be purely actual revenues reported by the participating Companies or will you be estimating a larger number based on the actuals?

 Moreno Da Pont at 13:10:38
Hi jdurran,
The Monthly Retail Trade Survey collects actual revenues from a selection of respondents in the industry. These data are weighted to represent all retailers operating in Canada.

 jdurran at 13:07:48
Do you have a plan for capturing ecommerce revenue from non "bricks & mortar" companies such as Amazon?

 Matthew Briggs at 13:11:51
Hi jdurran, we can't comment on specific companies due to the confidentiality constraints of the Statistics Act. More generally, pure-play online retailers operating as retailers in Canada are included in the estimates we released on Tuesday. They are part of the Electronic Shopping and Mail Order Houses industry, NAICS 454110.

 stuart.webster at 13:01:56
Could you please comment on your sampling methodology, and what some of its strengths and weaknesses are?

 Jason Aston at 13:14:33
hello stuart.webster,
The sampling methodology for the Monthly Retail Trade Survey uses a stratified sampling design with simple random sample selection in each stratum. Stratification is done by size at the industry group and geographic level. The size measure is created using the annual profiled revenue. To reduce respondent burden, there is also a take-none stratum that excludes smaller business from the surveyed population. These businesses should represent at most 10% of total sales. Instead of sending questionnaires to these businesses, the take-none estimates are produced using administrative data.
This approach optimally reaches target coefficients of variation at the national, provincial/territorial, industrial, and industrial groups by province/territory levels.
For more information, refer to: Retail Trade Survey (Monthly) (MRTS)

 bl15na at 13:03:08
Hello, I have two questions: 1. How do you measure e-commerce within your survey? 2. Given the growth of e-commerce over time, why is it only reflected as 2% of sales within your survey?

 Fred Barzyk at 13:16:04
Hello bl15na,
For Question 1:
For the purposes of the Monthly Retail Trade Survey, retail e-commerce is measured as the combination of retail sales made over the Internet by traditional store retailers and retail sales made over the Internet by non-store retailers in the electronic shopping and mail order houses industry.
Question 2:
The Monthly Retail Trade Survey's measure of e-commerce encompasses sales from only Canadian-based retailers. The MRTS measure of online retail sales is an estimate of the sales made online by Canadian retailers, whether to domestic or foreign consumers. It does not include the online purchases made by Canadian consumers from retailers located outside of Canada.
In addition, online sales by businesses not classified as retailers according to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) are excluded for this measure of online retail sales. While most goods and services familiar to consumers, such as food, clothing, electronics, and household goods, are sold by retailers, there are a number of goods and services sold online that are not typically sold by retailers. Examples include but are not limited to

  • Hotel accommodations
  • Travel services, including purchasing of airline tickets
  • Ticket sales
  • Registrations to programs or events
  • Bill payments
  • Licence renewals
  • Banking

According to the NAICS 2012, these goods and services are not sold by retailers but by establishments belonging to other sectors of the economy, such as the traveler accommodation industry and the arts, entertainment and recreation subsector. These goods and services are therefore not captured in the MRTS measure of online retail sales.

 jciconsult at 13:12:03
Would you consider readjusting the ARTS to produce locations and continuing locations by sector/province?

 Moreno Da Pont at 13:17:33
Statistics Canada constantly assesses requests for additional data against the burden that will be imposed on respondents. At this time, there are no plans to release location-level data from the Annual Retail Trade Survey program.

 moule at 13:18:03
Would it be possible to get a heads-up when the release will be as well as the short article?

 Moderator / Modérateur at 13:20:54
Could you specify what release you are referring to?

 moule at 13:08:17
Was the MRTS sample size updated due to the incorporation of e-commerce data?

 Jason Aston at 13:25:07
Hi moule,
The MRTS sample size (NAICS 441 to NAICS 453) was not updated to incorporate e-commerce data. However, additional sampling was required to measure the total sales and Internet-based sales of non-store retailers in the NAICS 45411 electronic shopping and mail-order houses industry.

 jdurran at 13:14:59
as a follow up question - are you using the same weightings for ecommerce as you use for "bricks and mortar" revenues? Moreno Da Pont at 13:10:38 Hi jdurran, The Monthly Retail Trade Survey collects actual revenues from a selection of respondents in the industry. These data are weighted to represent all retailers operating in Canada.

 Moreno Da Pont at 13:27:53
Hi jdurran,
Each respondent in the survey is assigned an independent weight regardless of whether they are a traditional store retailer or a non-store retailer. However, the weight of each respondent's response to total revenue vs e-commerce revenue is identical.

 jciconsult at 13:21:18
I meant counts of number of locations, total and continuing

 Moreno Da Pont at 13:28:59
Statistics Canada's Statistical Registers and Geography Division has released a product that provides business counts by industry and geography. We will get back to you in the next few days with contact information for that division.

 cwhite257 at 13:05:52
Will online sales be excluded from the monthly Retail Trade data and/or reported separately?

 Jason Aston at 13:29:49
Hi cwhite257,
Online sales in subsectors that are in scope for the Monthly Retail Trade Survey (NAICS 441 to 453) are included in their total reported sales and are published in the following CANSIM table.
Additionally, online sales in the electronic shopping and mail-order houses (NAICS 454110) are not included in the Monthly Retail Trade Survey estimates but are published in the following separate monthly CANSIM table.

 TER at 13:17:19
Fred to follow up, how does the end user know whether a large omni channel retailer has sales in 45411 or if its included in 44-453. As an example Costco and Canadian Tire sales are 4529 in cansim 080-0020. Does this include their on-line sales or are those operations managed seperately and therefore included in 45411

 Fred Barzyk at 13:30:40
As part of our confidentiality policy, we cannot disclose any information on particular respondents under the Statistics Act. If a respondent uses separate accounting for its online operations, Statistics Canada will classify its online sales in 45411.

 cwhite257 at 13:18:28
Will used merchandise be included as part of the online sales data (e.g., specific vendors on eBay, online consignment shops, Amazon, etc.)?

 Matthew Briggs at 13:33:15
Hi cwhite257,
We can't comment on specific companies because of confidentiality constraints.
There is no exclusion of used merchandise from the retail sector - it is not treated any differently from new merchandise.
Inclusion in our e-commerce estimates depends on whether or not the business operates as a retailer in Canada.

 jciconsult at 13:27:12
Are there any plans to reintroduce the sales/sq foot measures to the ARTS?

 Moreno Da Pont at 13:34:48
One of our advisory committees has brought forward this question, and we are actively exploring the re-introduction of this metric.

 stuart.webster at 13:21:11
How do the MRTS and the ARTS sample sizes/methodologies compare?

 Fred Barzyk at 13:37:04
Hi stuart.webster,
This is a very good question that requires a detailed comparison. For more information on sampling methodology, please refer to the IMDB for both surveys (links below).

 cwhite257 at 13:28:45
Further to previous question, do purchases made directly from a brand's website get included as part of online sales?

 Matthew Briggs at 13:38:03
Hi cwhite257,
Yes. We survey retailers and ask them to report their monthly sales, as well as their monthly Internet sales.

 jciconsult at 13:33:48
Moreno: I am all too familiar with the Business Register products. However, they do NOT consider their observations to be sufficiently comparable that they should be treated like time series. They try their best to prevent such analysis. That is why we need a reintroduction of your estimates.

 Moreno Da Pont at 13:39:26
At this time, there are no plans to release location-level data from the Annual Survey of Retail Trade. Thank you for your interest.

 cwhite257 at 13:23:17
Will purchases made directly from the manufacturers' website be included in online sales?

 Matthew Briggs at 13:47:58
Hi cwhite257,
Generally, sales from manufacturer websites would not be considered retail sales, unless the manufacturer maintained a separate set of books for its retail operations, in which case, its sales would be included in the retail population.

 bl15na at 13:42:24
Thanks for your response! I have another question: Do you include agents and brokers within your survey?

 Fred Barzyk at 13:48:40
Hello bl15na,
Could you please provide more information on what you mean by agents and brokers for the retail sector? Could you provide an example perhaps?

 Moderator at 13:41:04
Great questions! Keep them coming!

 cwhite257 at 13:47:06
Hi Matthew - further to your response, what about online purchases made directly from brands that don't necessarily have a bricks and mortar presence (e.g., popular household names/brands that don't have actual stores)?

 Matthew Briggs at 13:54:56
Hi cwhite257,
Yes, they would be included, even if they don't have brick and mortar retail locations, provided that the retailer has operations in Canada. This means they need a physical location of some sort in Canada, even if it is only to support their online platform. Online retailers are included in the electronic shopping and mail order houses industry, NAICS 454110.

 Moderator - Modérateur at 13:55:00
Time for one last question, or two!

 bl15na at 13:50:00
Fred: For example, if Amazon let a business/individual sell their product using their website for a percentage (or fee), how would this be captured? Thanks!

 Fred Barzyk at 14:02:34
In general, if the business is Canadian-based, then the commission would be included as part of the non-store sales estimate. The revenue from the the actual online sale of the product should be collected from the business/individual selling the product.

 Moderator - Modérateur at 14:01:51
The chat session is now over. Thank you for your questions and comments! The full transcript of this chat session will be made available on our website shortly. Have a great day!

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