Report: Canadian Web commerce just taking off

Canadian consumers and marketers have been slow to the plate in making use of the Internet for commerce. But a recent report released by Forrester Research shows that by 2006, 7.2 million Canadian households will be spending $24 billion (Canadian) online, which will account for 8% of all retail transactions north of the border. In addition, the report says, the Web will “influence” an additional $59 billion (Canadian) in offline sales.

Although the report doesn’t focus specifically on Canadian catalogers, it notes that Canadian multichannel retailers plan to boost their investment in the Web. But many are using the Internet for communicating with customers rather than for e-commerce. “These sellers are on the right track, but they’re not fully aware of the emerging consumer demand,” the Forrester report states. “In 2002, 1.3 million Canadian households will begin buying online, starting a five-year period in which the number of Net shoppers will grow more than 250%.”

Forrester believes that the increase in online buying in Canada will spur catalog sales there as well. Until now, Canadian consumers have not been comfortable with remote purchasing in any form, the report says: “As retailers ramp up their efforts to fulfill Web orders, they’ll actually build a significant portion of the infrastructure required for catalog operations.”

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