The value of what Canadians bought online more than doubled between 2007 and 2012, but still represented only a tiny percentage of total sales, according to new data from Statistics Canada.
An analysis released Wednesday by the data agency indicates Canadian companies sold $122 billion worth of goods and services over the internet last year. That's more than double the amount in 2007, the last time a similar analysis of the available data was attempted.
But the figure was still a drop in the bucket in terms of the overall economy: Overall, e-commerce sales accounted for 4% of total sales of goods and services by Canadian enterprises, Statistics Canada says.
Indeed, the percentage of companies selling online didn't rise much. Overall, 11 per cent of Canadian firms sold a good or service online last year, compared to eight per cent in 2007, suggesting the sales growth is coming from the same companies, selling more.
Company websites growing
On the buying side, the activity was more balanced. Almost half of Canadian enterprises made purchases of goods or services online in 2012, Statistics Canada says.
All in all, 45 per cent of Canadian companies had a website last year. But among larger firms (which the data agency says are those with 10 or more employees), the figure jumped to above 80 per cent.
As well, companies that sold directly to consumers were far more likely to have a website than business-to-business sellers. A full 74 per cent of enterprises in the arts and entertainment sector, and 54 per cent of enterprises in the retail trade sector had websites last year.
Almost nine out of 10 (87 per cent) Canadian enterprises reported using the internet in 2012. Among enterprises with 10 or more employees, the internet use was almost universal, at 96 per cent.
More than half of all Canadian companies said they used some sort of mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone to conduct business last year.