indicatorThe Owl

Use of ICT by businesses widespread but perhaps less than you think

Canadian businesses with five or more employees grossed $305 billion in e-commerce sales in 2019

By ATB Economics 7 January 2021 1 min read

The amount of business conducted via the internet was increasing before COVID-19, but the pandemic has pushed down on the accelerator. And, while ZOOM meetings and online shopping may ebb a bit after the pandemic is behind us, the trend toward more e-business will continue.

It will take some time for the dust stirred up by COVID-19 to settle, but recently released results from Statistics Canada’s Survey of Digital Technology and Internet Use provide a baseline of where things stood just before the pandemic began.

In 2019, Canadian businesses with five or more employees grossed $305 billion in e-commerce* sales or about 8 per cent of their total revenues and more than double the 2013 total.

Perhaps surprisingly, given the seeming ubiquity of e-commerce, only a quarter of Canadian businesses had at least some online sales in 2019.

It might also be surprising to learn that “sectors that traditionally sell to other businesses accounted for the majority of the value of total Canadian online sales in 2019. While retail e-commerce is typically the focus of discussions regarding online sales, goods sold in retail stores were often procured in bulk over the Internet at higher levels of the supply chain.”

“The wholesale trade ($85 billion), transportation and warehousing ($60 billion) and manufacturing ($38 billion) sectors were the largest contributors to total Canadian e-commerce sales in 2019, while the retail trade sector grossed $22 billion in online sales over the same period.”

More prevalent than e-commerce is the use of information and communication technology (ICT) such as a company-wide computer network, customer relationship management software or cloud computing. About 80 per cent of Canadian businesses reported using at least one type of ICT in 2019.

Still, that leaves a fifth of the Canadian business sector not using any of the ICT options asked about in the survey.

*E-commerce sales refer to sales where orders were received, and the commitment to purchase was made, over the internet. This includes business-to-consumer transactions, as well as business-to-business transactions.

Answer to the previous trivia question: It is estimated that the global population in 1800 was 1 billion (Source: Our World in Data)

Today’s trivia question: In what year was the first email sent?

About 80 per cent of Canadian businesses reported using at least one type of ICT in 2019

About 80 per cent of Canadian businesses reported using at least one type of ICT in 2019


Economics News

Subscribe and get a quick daily snapshot of what’s happening in Alberta’s economy

Need help?

Our Client Care team will be happy to assist.

Chat now
ATB Virtual Assistant
The ATB Virtual Assistant doesn't support landscape mode. Please tilt your device vertically to portrait mode.
×