Consumers flocked to online shopping as pandemic hit, with e-commerce sales up 99 per cent

 

OTTAWA -- Statistics Canada says online retail sales doubled as the measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic were enacted. 

A new report from the agency found that total retail sales fell by 17.9 per cent as Canadians increasingly sheltered in place between February and May and brick-and-mortar stores closed their doors.

Even so, shoppers rushed to make online purchases, with sales surging 99.3 per cent during the period.

StatCan says e-commerce sales hit a record $3.9 billion in May, a 2.3 per cent increase over April and 99.3 per cent increase over February.

E-commerce sales more than doubled year over year, with a 110.8 per cent increase compared with May 2019.

The report found that all 11 retail subsectors with e-commerce sales saw those sales increase. 

From February to April, only the food and beverage subsector saw an increase in in-store sales, which were up 3.3 per cent, and a surge in e-commerce, which was up 107.0 per cent.

In-store sales declined for general merchandise stores, building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers, and health and personal care stores. 

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