Canadian Retail Industry Statistics: 2021 in Review

A full year into the pandemic, 2021 saw a rebound in consumer confidence resulting in what many called “revenge shopping.” According to CBRE, by spring of 2021, there was over 8 per cent growth in core retail sales. However, as the CBRE report shows, the future is sill unclear as no identifiable segment of the market is outperforming others, and there are winners and losers within each category or format.

Here are some 2021 Canadian retail industry statistics to consider going forward into 2022.


Canadians are among the world’s most savvy internet users, so it’s no surprise that in 2021 over 70 per cent of Canadians were e-commerce users. In the first five months of 2021 alone, e-commerce sales reached over 15 billion USD. Fashion followed by electronics and media were the leading product categories.

The leading online retailers of 2021 were Amazon, Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire, Costco, Best Buy, Hudson’s Bay, and Etsy.

In 2021, over half of Canadians used their mobile devices to make online purchases. Approximately 40 per cent of millennial consumers used their devices to shop at least once a week.

Interestingly, in Q3 2021, total e-commerce sales were down 1.6 per cent compared to 2020. This is the first time Statistics Canada has reported a three-month decline in e-commerce sales.


2020 was a challenging year for in-store sales due to lockdown measures. A major growth spike in Q2 2021 helped reverse some of these losses, which fell back down to historical levels later in the year. This suggests that hopefully the market is returning to some state of normalcy.

Q3 2021 saw strong sales growth for clothing stores, with a growth of over 16 per cent, as well as furniture and home furnishings at nearly 11 per cent growth. However, electronics and appliance stores suffered a loss of over 2 per cent year-over-year.

After record-high retail sales during lockdowns in 2020, the food and drug sector fell back down to earth in 2021. Despite the cost of food inflating by 4 to 5 per cent, sales at supermarket and grocery stores fell almost by a full percentage in Q3 2021 year-over-year.

Going forward, however, grocery stores may see another bump as the highly contagious Omicron variant keeps people home at the start of 2022.

Whatever the case may be, it is certainly clear that e-commerce continues to grow while in-store consumers habits is shifting. More than ever, customers expect a seamless omnichannel experience, including online shopping and BOPIS.

In addition to staying on top of Canadian retail industry statistics, Storesupport can help retailers navigate these pandemic-related challenges with our national, industry-leading services. To learn more about our solutions call 1-877-421-5081 or visit

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