The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has just released a report on the state of ecommerce and online business presence in Canada. This study
investigates the growing importance of e-commerce to Canadian retailers. CIRA’s research looked at online purchasing behaviours of both Internet users and small business owners.
An earlier report by CIRA in 2015 had found that
Canadian small businesses have remained reluctant to embrace the web. Just 42.3 per cent of small businesses in Canada currently have a website, compared with 91.4 per cent of large companies. The lack of an online presence for small businesses may have an impact both online and offline.
The 2016 report notes that
One thing is certain: electronic commerce is here to stay and small businesses need to adapt quickly to ensure they get their fair share of this rapidly growing opportunity.Forester research has predicted that Canadians will spend $39 billion online by 2019, representing 9.5 percent of all retail purchases in Canada. Statistics Canada’s data (in their most recent data on the topic) reports that Canadian companies sold more than $136 billion in goods and services online in 2013, up from $122 billion a year earlier.
The 2015 CIRA Internet Factbook reported that Canadian small businesses were still lagging in their adoption of Internet technology and that over 40 percent of Canadian small businesses still did not have a website. CIRA’s Internet tracking research has found that there could be serious business implications to this lack of a digital presence. In a competitive market, a website is an important asset in helping customers learn about a company and build trust.
More specifically, the CIRA study found that 63% of respondents felt that “having a website makes a business look more credible“, while 26% said that “I don’t trust businesses that do not have a website“.
Small business owners themselves are using other business who do have an online presence to make purchases of both personal and business products and services online:
Virtually all (95%) of Canadian small business owners report making online purchases. Large numbers of business owners are opting to purchase their travel online (61%) and business owners are more likely to access government services (37%) or office supplies (34%) online.
It is becoming increasingly clear that small business owners who do not have a website are at a significant disadvantage relative to their competitors, and as ecommerce continues to grow in Canada this disadvantage will only become greater.
So why aren’t ALL small business owners moving to the web? One factor is the belief that doing so will cost a lot of money. The fact is that this is untrue. A basic website for a small business, depending on what features the business owner wants or needs, can be created for only a few hundred dollars. A domain name costs under $20 a year and hosting for the website, again depending on what features you need, can be obtained for as little as $5 or $6 per month.
Are you a small business owner? Can your small business be easily found on the internet? If not, it would be worth your while to get a free quote on what it would cost you to remove that disadvantage and to get a jump on competitors who have not yet made the move to the internet.
You can download the full 2016 CIRA report in PDF format here.