CBRE Report – A Closer Look at the Canadian Retail Market in Fall 2020

The retail industry has traditionally thrived on social interactions in physical spaces.

However, 2020 changed that. With on-and-off lockdowns and strict physical distancing rules in place, retailers, manufacturers, and commercial property owners experienced challenges that they did not anticipate.

Hence, most of the year was spent revisiting and revising retail strategies.

According to a survey conducted by Deloitte, 96% of the Canadian consumers, who responded, believed the Canadian economy was going to negatively be impacted as a result of COVID-19.

In this blog, we take a deep-dive into the state of the Canadian Retail Market and review some of the insights shared in the Canada Retail Report for Fall 2020 by CBRE.

E-commerce Growth

E-commerce has seen phenomenal growth in the past few months.

CBRE shares that the initial expectation was that e-commerce would increase 1.6% and represent 12.0% of retail sales in 2020, however, new forecasts show that e-commerce sales penetration will rise by about 3.1% and reach 13.5% in Canada.

With e-commerce becoming a vital component of retail, retailers should spend time reviewing and/or developing their online platforms to ensure that they can meet the changing consumer requirements.

Additionally, this also means that a seamless omnichannel experience is more important today than ever. Providing customers with the convenience of online shopping, curbside or in-store pick-ups, and longer return timeframes can help your business continue to get the products into the customers’ hands.

In-Store Retail

While there has certainly been a decrease in footfall to brick-and-mortar stores, due to lockdowns and restrictions, data shows that the numbers steadily increased after experiencing a sharp initial decline.

Statistics Canada shared that retailers made $54.6 billion in sales in October. This marked the sixth monthly increase since April’s record decline at the start of the pandemic.

In October, the core retail sales, excluding gas stations and vehicle parts, were up 0.3%. As people seemed to be investing more in their hobbies, a nearly 12% sales increase was noted when it came to sporting goods, books, music, and more.

Categories – A Deep Dive

The report highlights that most categories in the retail industry have seen some form of recovery. Though, on a year-to-date basis sales figures remain down in three of nine core categories.

  • Clothing & Accessories segment has experienced a decline of 30.6%.
  • Furniture & Home Furnishings have seen a decrease of 14.0%.
  • Recreation stores have experienced an 8.4% decline.

While on the flip side, Food & Beverage store sales have led the year-to-date growth – with the numbers being up 10.1% from 2019.

With vaccinations becoming available, the situation is likely to change in the second half of the year. Though consumer habits tend to stick, so even when retail stores reopen, consumers may continue to leverage online ordering options and expect seamless omnichannel experiences.

This is where we can help. We can help you deliver stellar customer service while maintaining a strong bottom line. Contact us to learn more about our solutions. Call 1-877-421-5081 or visit

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