Toronto is one of my favorite cities, and I have the pleasure of knowing many folks from the Canadian IT industry. And, from what I've seen in and around Toronto and Montreal, the place buzzes with commerce. It stands to reason, then, that the online world should buzz as well.
But a study with puzzling conclusions came across the wire last week. Namely, that while Canada is well wired with broadband -- more than most nations of the world -- its adoption of e-commerce is almost non-existent, amounting to about 1% of total sales.
eMarketer, the firm that prepared the study, provides a clue to the puzzle, but requires you to invest $695 to get the whole story. "Canadian consumers have been overly cautious in their online purchasing habits. Retailers have been slow to invest in Internet technology. And, finally, the government has been complacent about introducing strategic initiatives that could stimulate Canada's e-commerce economy."
Living in the United States, I never had the impression that the U.S. government took proactive strides to stimulate the U.S. e-commerce economy, beyond starting up the original Internet, and staving off the imposition of state sales taxes. Market forces made the rest happen.
An earlier analysis by comScore found that Canadian e-commerce spending rose by 20% during the last quarter of 2003, and talks about a shift taking place from non-Canadian to Canadian Websites.
comScore also finds that Canadians are also more likely to visit humor sites on the Internet. Which leads me to conclude that we folks south of the border may be too serious about our Web paradigm shift, and perhaps need to lighten up a bit.
Would Canadian readers care to give us your take? Is Canada more cautious about moving to online commerce?