Join Insights West's Feedback Community to participate in meaningful research like this!Join


Most Canadians who shun e-commerce say they can’t tell the quality of a product during an online purchase.

Vancouver, BC – Almost half of Canadians are purchasing products or services online on a monthly basis at the very least, claiming to have access to better variety and selection than what they would get at retail stores, according to the 2018 Canadian E-commerce Monitor conducted by Insights West in partnership with Ayima.

The report is based on an online survey of a representative national sample of English-speaking Canadians and highlights key trends in the e-commerce landscape for Canadian marketers and retailers.

Across the country, nearly three-in-four Canadians (73%) say they look online for details about stores or businesses “at least on a monthly basis”, while three-in-five (62%) search for companies that sell specific products or services.

From this, almost half of Canadians (46%) acknowledge buying a product or service online “daily”, “weekly” or “monthly”. One third of Canadians aged 55 and over (32%) are engaging in e-commerce at this rate—a proportion that increases to 50% among those aged 35-to-54 and 59% for those aged 18-to-34.

“The Canadian e-commerce industry is often confused with that of the US or even foreign markets, with research taking that wider scope into view rather than focusing on what is truly happening right here in Canada,” says Mark Tempest, Senior Vice President at Ayima. “As marketers, we need to better understand what our Canadian consumers truly want when it comes to the sales of products and services online. Before you can increase your engagements, conversions and even your ROI you need to know where they’re shopping, how they’re shopping there and what makes them click that buy button. We’ve worked with various e-commerce clients throughout Canada and have partnered with Insights West to provide them and every retailer in the country with this exact information with the hopes to help them create a more purposeful approach to their online customer journey.”

The report also uncovered that the biggest motivators for Canadians who acquire products and services online are having access to better variety and selection (51%), saving time (48%) and saving money (44%).

Conversely, the biggest barriers for Canadians who do not partake in e-commerce are the inability to tell the quality of a product (71%), too much hassle to return things (67%) and liking to try on, touch or see the products they buy (66%).

Only 5% of online shoppers say they have never abandoned a “shopping cart” at an online retailer, while 36% say they do this “at least monthly” or more often.

The main reasons cited by those who have abandoned an online “shopping cart” are a higher than expected shipping cost (72%), a higher than expected total price for the items (66%) or simply changing their mind at the last minute (42%).

“It is important to note that the most cited factor for abandoning an online shopping cart is related to shipping,” says Steve Mossop, President of Insights West. “Online retailers that do a good job outlining actual costs or offer free delivery will see fewer abandoned carts and more returning customers.”

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary.

Most of our surveys are conducted through our Your Insights panel. The Your Insights panel is comprised of 30,000 Canadians who share their opinions on a variety of political, economic, social and other issues while earning the opportunity to get paid and win great prizes. If you’re interested in joining, please register at

About Ayima:

Originally founded in 2007, Ayima is an award-winning digital marketing agency specializing in SEO, CRO, E-commerce, Paid Media and Content Marketing.

From Ayima’s Canadian headquarters in Vancouver it has gained a reputation for truly understanding the Canadian market and the unique challenges that companies here face. With clients across a mix of industries such as e-commerce, recruitment, finance and entertainment, our team of experts achieve spectacular results for some of the world’s biggest brands and we work with leading Canadian brands from coast to coast.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from January 15 to January 25, 2018, among a representative sample of 1,021 English-speaking Canadian adults. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points. Click here to view the full report.

For further information, please contact:

Steve Mossop
President, Insights West

Mark Tempest
Senior Vice President, Ayima