More and more Canadian companies are flocking to B2B e-commerce

Government e-commerce data is like a history lesson. It is based on something that has already happened. New business-to-business data from Statistics Canada, the Canadian equivalent of the US Department of Commerce, is a good example.

The data is 11 months old, but in 2021, B2B e-commerce in Canada exploded due to buyer behavior altered by COVID-19, according to Statistics Canada. “Since the onset of the pandemic, work and business transactions have increasingly been done virtually rather than in person,” the agency says in a new report. “This continued into 2021 for many businesses as the pandemic underscored the need to use digital technologies to adapt to new realities.”

In 2021, Canadian businesses with five or more employees achieved e-commerce sales of C$398 billion (US$289.5 billion), up 30% from C$305 billion (221. US$9 billion) in 2019, the year before the pandemic began. “It also marked a four-fold increase in e-commerce sales over the past decade, when sales reached C$106 billion in 2012,” the agency said. Statistics Canada did not break down B2B online sales for 2020 or offer a forecast for growth in 2022.

But the e-commerce section of its latest survey of digital technology and internet use suggests that more businesses will continue to see an increase in B2B e-commerce sales long after the pandemic is over. “Nearly one in five businesses (19%) said they were likely to permanently increase their online sales capacity once the pandemic was over,” the report said.

Industries with more business-to-business transactions dominated e-commerce sales. The manufacturing sector accounted for a quarter of all e-commerce sales at C$105 billion (US$76.4 billion), followed by wholesale trade at C$77 billion (US$56.0 billion) and transportation and warehousing at C$51 billion (US$37.1 billion). . Additionally, the retail sector brought in C$35 billion in e-commerce sales over the same period, a 60% increase since 2019 to C$22 billion (US$8.0 billion). ), according to Statistics Canada.

Other takeaways from the report include:

  • A third (33%) of Canadian businesses made at least some e-commerce sales in 2021, an increase from 2019, when a quarter (25%) received or made sales of goods or services on the Internet.
  • Large businesses (38%) were the most likely to report e-commerce sales, while medium (36%) and small (32%) businesses were not far behind. This compares favorably to other small businesses internationally; the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported that 25% of small businesses in reporting member countries made online sales in 2020.
  • Canadian businesses with e-commerce sales averaged C$3.7 million (US$2.7 billion) in internet sales in 2021, but this varied by business size. Large companies reported, on average, C$79 million (US$57.7 million) in gross e-commerce sales, while medium-sized companies reported C$4.2 million (3.1 million US dollars) and small businesses reported C$580,000 (US$491,297).
  • Canadian businesses of all sizes saw an increase in e-commerce in 2021, both in terms of the percentage of businesses that made sales online and in terms of average gross e-commerce sales. Most notably, this growth was greatest for small businesses, where 41% more small businesses sold online in 2021, and saw an average 65% increase in e-commerce sales compared to 2019.


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