Impact of COVID-19 on E-commerce in Canada

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Did you know that the retail e-commerce sales in Canada reached a record of $3.9 billion in May – a 2.3% increase over April & a 99.3% increase over February?

It would be widely inaccurate to assume only the adverse impacts of the pandemic on the retail industry in Canada when also what it did was inexcusably prompt every retailer to adopt digital expression for sales. While there was a threat lurking on the streets by the onset of COVID-19, the consumer decided to virtually shop while the retailers expanded their virtual presence, from the comfort of their homes. Symbiosis at its best.

Year over year, e-commerce sales more than doubled—with a 110.8% increase in comparison to May 2019.

Have a look at the comparative stats on online purchasing, greatly influenced by the pandemic, from Feb 2020 to onwards:  

Online sales of household appliances such as electronics, building materials, and DIY have rocketed since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in Canada. Sales within this sector increased by 625% between March 11 and May 3, 2020, compared to the same period in 2019.

How Ecommerce Will Change the Canadian Retail Industry

Canadian federal agency stated that small businesses increasingly turned to e-commerce platforms by the onset of COVID-19 and are still turning to use these platforms in innovative ways. And this shall continue to do so from now onwards by virtue of this immediate transition. And the degree to which the Canadian consumers continue to choose e-commerce buying options or going back to previous purchasing methods possess the potential to restructure the retail trade industry in Canada. Clearly, the retail landscape is further expected to evolve.

Online purchasing has become the new normal for the consumers, so it seems. And all for the right reasons – the consumer comfortably buys the objects of their need without having to leave their house and the retailers shift toward making their online stores more useful and functional.

Challenges for the Retailers

Having said that, e-commerce certainly made an abrupt shift and capitalized on the opportunity. But the rate at which COVID-19 accelerated digital fulfillment in the Canadian retail industry, it also created an increasing demand for tech talent and IT expertise to run the e-commerce stores.

Ecommerce software developers and engineers have contributed to keep all the digital platforms we rely on run smoothly. Many businesses also counted on online sales during this period of social distancing. Developers helped businesses ramp up their e-commerce opportunities, debug and troubleshoot existing platforms, and also to build more enterprise tools in order to help employers transition their workforce to work from home.  

While it became difficult for hiring agencies to combat the scarcity of tech talent in Canada, the opportunities expanded for more tech in the e-commerce industry, resulting in competition and further demand. COVID-19 may have deprived many of jobs in these tragic times, but it also has sprung a plethora of opportunities that only a genius can place and grow from. In short, e-commerce is the need of the hour and it’s best to realize this now.