Canadian eCommerce Hits $18.9 Billion in 2012; Seniors Up Internet Use

RICK MORANIS DAVE THOMAS

The value of orders placed online by Canadians reached $18.9 billion in 2012 while Internet use increased across the board since 2010, particularly from a rise in usage from those 65 and older.

The new numbers came out this morning as part of a new Statistics Canada report entitled, “Individual Internet use and e-commerce, 2012″.

The $18.9 billion was up 24 percent from 2010 when the survey was last conducted. More than half of Internet users (56 percent) ordered goods or services online in 2012, up from 51 percent in 2010. In 2012, 77 percent of Internet users did research on goods or services or “window shopped”, while Internet users aged 25 to 34 were most likely to make a purchase online, as 69 percent did so in 2012.

Not only are Canadians buying online,  but almost one-quarter (23%) sold items online, either through online auction sites or other means.

The report also shed light on the growing amount of Canadians who are actually using the internet: 83 percent of Canadians aged 16 or over used the Internet for personal use from any location, up three percent from 2010. This is partly attributed the rise of Internet use among senior citizens. Internet use by Canadians in this demographic rose by eight percent to nearly half (48 percent) in 2012.

Those are some seriously indicative numbers for a generation of Canadians that many assume can’t even understand how to turn on a computer. Statistics Canada spokesman Mark Uhrbach told the Toronto Star today that it’s likely just a matter of time until seniors are no longer lagging other age groups in Internet usage.

“The use of the Internet may not only be age (based) but there’s also sort of a cohort effect,” he told the Star. “Once people start using the Internet they’re not likely to stop using it as they age. So as young users and boomer-aged users move through the age cohorts perhaps we’ll see that trend continue.”

Provincially, the lowest levels of Internet use were found in Newfoundland and Labrador as well as New Brunswick, both at 77 percent, but even three quarters of the province’s people is still a high number: Canadians in every province are using the net at a high level, and this shouldn’t be surprising to anyone.

The census metropolitan areas with the highest rates of Internet use were Kelowna (93 percent), Regina (90 percent), and Victoria (90 percent). Other major metropolitan areas included Calgary at 89 percent, Vancouver at 88 percent and Toronto  at 88 percent, all had rates of Internet use above the national average.

Unsurprisingly, Internet use among low-income Canadians continues to lag, but this is mainly because of senior-aged Canadians (despite the encouraging overall activity by Canadians of this age). Just 28 percent of low-income senior-aged Canadians are using the Internet, while 95 percent of low-income Canadians aged 16-24 are connected. Overall, 62 percent of low-income Canadians are connected.

Internet use via mobile phones jumped a big 25 percent from 2010, when just 33 percent of Canadians were accessing from their phones. Now 58 percent are. Within mobile the generational divide in Internet use was striking: Canadians aged 16 to 24 were most likely to use a wireless handheld device to connect to the Internet (84 percent) while just nine percent of those 65 or older accessed the net from their phones.

Joseph Czikk

Joseph Czikk

Joseph Czikk previously has written for the National Post, Montreal Gazette, Vancouver Sun, Regina Leader Post, Techvibes and BC Business Online. Joseph often goes crazy on twitter during NHL and NFL games.