October 1, 2015
Retail trade in Quebec represents 6% of GDP and over 500,000 jobs. This sector’s health has an impact on the whole Quebec economy. But while Quebeckers are buying $6.6 billion of goods and services online every year, Quebec retailers account for barely $1.7 billion in sales to these online buyers – meaning that $4.9 billion goes to companies outside the province.
Based on these data, published in the very first edition of CEFRIO’s Indice du commerce électronique du Québec — volet entreprises, the Institut du Québec, in its study entitled Le commerce en ligne au Québec : passer du retard à la croissance, estimates that by increasing online sales from 2.4% to 5.2% of all retail sales (the level in the United States), Quebec retailers would boost their sales by $2 billion a year. Quebec's GDP would grow by $550 million, over 8,000 jobs would be created and $193 million would be added to government coffers.
“The number of jobs tied to retail and the impact on Quebec’s economy should tell Quebec retailers that they need to take a more aggressive approach to online sales, in order to recover their market share in the province and considerably boost their exports,” says Raymond Bachand, President of the Institut du Québec.
The study by the Institut du Québec, conducted in co-operation with CEFRIO, which surveyed 1,200 companies on their e-commerce practices, shows the enormous growth potential for e-commerce in Quebec and elsewhere. “The growth rate of e-commerce in Canada, expected to top 10% annually over the next few years, is an excellent opportunity for Quebec retailers,” explains the co-author of the study, Jacques Nantel, Full Professor in the Marketing Department. “They have to take advantage of this opportunity. Retailers can’t limit themselves to Quebec as a market.”