Canadians set holiday season record for online commerce

Offering insight into Canadian e-commerce

Canadians were enthusiastic online shoppers during the 2012 holiday season, clicking through on $2.8-billion in purchases, according to the MasterCard SpendingPulse report, a product of MasterCard Advisors, for December 2012. December online sales rose 26% this year over last – much faster than in the U.S. — reaching a total of 6.6% of all December retail sales.

Other indicators of the increased popularity of online shopping in the December numbers:

  • 15 consecutive months of growth over 20 per cent.
  • 43 consecutive months of year-over-year growth.
  • The October 2012 year-over-year growth rate was 27.5%.
  • The November 2012 year-over-year growth rate was 26.4%.
  • eCommerce in the U.S. grew by 12.6% versus last year indicating that Canadian online shopping is growing at a much faster pace than the U.S.

Richard McLaughlin, Senior Vice President, Global Products and Solutions for MasterCard Canada said. “You can’t shop online with cash and that’s one of the benefits of electronic payments. It makes things easy for consumers and opens new doors for merchants.”

Other holiday shopping data from the SpendingPulse includes:

  • Total Canadian retail sales were up 1.6 per cent in December.
  • Total dollar value of December retail sales were $42 billion.
  • U.S. retail sales were up just 2.4 per cent year-over-year growth rate in December versus previous year, the slowest growth rate since 2009.

Categories like grocery, department store and gasoline experienced stunted growth in December 2012 versus previous year.

  • Grocery sales were up 1.3 per cent in December year-over-year.
  • Grocery sales for December 2012 were higher than the average sales for December in the previous 5 years in absolute dollar terms.
  • Gasoline sales fell 6.7 per cent in December.
  • Department store sales were up 3.1 per cent year-over-year in December versus previous year.
  • Department store sales for December 2012 were higher than any other December even pre-recession in absolute dollar terms. 

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