The recent news that Future Shop is closing its 131 Canadian stores and is re-branding 65 of the stores under the Best Buy banner has left yet another wave of change in the Canadian retail sector.
Best Buy Co. stated that this latest deal is an attempt to improve business. Best Buy and other companies are experiencing added pressure with the increase in Canadian online sales and are attempting to create online platforms to further business as well as trim any business redundancy and overlap.
Amazon has proven to be a major contender in the Canadian online sales sector and just this year announced an expanded offering. Consumers can now purchase thousands of products to fit most needs.
Shipping costs in Canada are relatively higher than the U.S. and this has hindered online sales in Canada in comparison to the U.S.
But, even with the higher shipping costs, online sales have started to impact Canadian businesses and some sectors have experienced more online sales than others.
Last week, Field Agent Canada conducted a poll to find out where Canadian consumer dollars are going in the area of online sales.
In the last twelve months, consumers have purchased 74% of total banking and financial services online. This was the highest purchased online category in the survey.
Next, consumers purchased 69% of total travel services online. This does not come as a surprise since sites like Expedia have provided consumers with many options for purchasing their own travel packages.
The music category, movies & television and books came in third, fourth and fifth at 65%, 59% and 52% respectively, as consumers have many options for purchasing these items online.
Consumers polled stated that 32% of all clothing purchases were made online. This number is relatively high considering the barrier of not physically trying on clothes before making purchases. The clothing sector has done a good job of complementing bricks and mortar stores with an online component thus far.
Kitchen supplies came in surprisingly low at 11%, giving this sector one of the lowest online penetration ratings in this survey and rounding out the bottom was groceries at 5%. Currently, consumers spend only 5% of their total grocery bill online.
This is an up and coming sector where countries such as Great Britain are ahead of Canada in the sale of online groceries. Canada is virtually non-existent in this arena but some stores are in the beginning stages of the process.
For example, Loblaw is currently piloting a test ‘click and collect’ store in Richmond Hill where customers can purchase their groceries online and then drive to the store and park in designated parking stalls where a store employee brings out and loads up groceries directly into the vehicle.
Loblaw has also opened up two more click and collect stores in the Greater Toronto area.
The company has a wide scope across Canada and if the click and collect program is successful, it could revolutionize the way consumers buy groceries in Canada.
The recent wave of closures and consolidation of retail space in Canada leaves many Canadian companies in a precarious position of ensuring they remain competitive and the online sector is crucial to business.
Companies can make further gains in this field with the advent of new technologies and ways of utilizing technologies to garner sales.
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