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E-commerce: Will Quebec retailers seize the opportunities?

10 Jul 2014

By Vidéotron Affaires
Videotron Business

CEFRIO, the Centre facilitating research and innovation in organizations, recently revealed the results of its “Indice du commerce électronique au Québec (ICEQ)” (State of e-commerce in Quebec) study. According to this study, over than 50 % of Quebecers 18 and older made online purchases in the last year. However, only 28 % of these purchases were made on websites owned by Quebec businesses, against 54 % for Canadian and American sites.

Depending on the type of product, Quebecers will buy from various online merchants, regardless of their location. For show and events tickets for example, 66% of the money spent online by Quebecers goes to Quebec-based businesses. As for books purchased online, it’s 39%, while for travel and accommodation, it’s 34%. However, for electronic products, it’s less than 2%.

Why are these numbers so low? Part of the explanation comes from the fact that only one out of two businesses in Quebec has a website, and amongst them, only one out of eight features e-commerce. Is the Quebec market ripe for merchants and retailers to invest in their e-commerce presence?

Markets to conquer, opportunities to seize

The transaction data are impressive: in September 2013 alone, Quebecers spent 467M$ online, according to the CEFRIO estimates. It’s close to 90M$ more than for the same month in 2012.

Depending on the sector, the median amount spent is considerable. For show and events tickets, the median online purchase amount for Quebecers is $154. For the specialized Travel sector, it’s $1145. In the Fashion & Accessories category, the median transaction is $130, while for Books, it’s $53.

As for purchase frequency, close to 20% of Quebec online consumers have bought at least one book during the month prior to the survey. For electronic products, it’s more than 22 % of buyers surveyed.

Consumer attitude is also changing and satisfaction rates are extremely high regarding online purchases. 97% of Quebec online buyers are satisfied or highly satisfied about their online purchase experience. When customers are not completely satisfied, it usually has to do with delivery issues (over 30% of cases), such as delays or unexpected costs.

Transactional data shows a great potential for growth, and opportunities abound for Quebec merchants. The presence of international online retailers at the top of the list of Quebec’s favorites points to opportunities in developing a strong and diversified local online offering.

What about your business? Do you sell online? Do you consider enabling transactions on your website?

The CEFRIO was created in 1987, and brings together more than 150 members including universities, government members and industry players, as well as some 80 associate and guest researchers.


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Videotron Business