_This article is by Guest Contributor Jennifer Evans._
I met recently with an individual responsible for development at one of Canada’s largest and most successful fundraisers, and we were discussing the fact that the ‘ten percent’ rule when it comes to projecting Canadian online activity using the US as a benchmark just doesn’t apply to e-commerce.
The theory goes that because Canada’s population is about 10% of the US population, then we can apply the same ratio to prospective activity results. Canadian marketers “frequently”:http://www.primezone.com/newsroom/news.html?d=82316 use this as a metric when planning or budgeting. But it’s time to put that ratio to bed, at least when it comes to e-commerce. Political parties in Canada don’t raise anywhere close to 10% of what the major US parties do online. Canadian charities don’t raise 10% of what is donated online in the US. And when it comes to selling online, forget about it. eMarketer announced last week its “September report”:http://www.emarketer.com/Report.aspx?ecom_canada_sep05 is the latest state of the Canadian ecommerce nation study, and this should really be the death knell on the 10% rule. Sure, there’s a 20% projected increase in buying. But that’s coming from a low starting point, the percentage of people who are online who buy is increasing only fractionally, and most of the activity is going to US companies.
The eMarketer study goes on to say that:
bq. While Canada has the essential underpinnings of a strong e-commerce society: high rates of PC penetration, Internet usage and broadband uptake – and Canadians go online in droves to research purchases, make bank transactions and partake in most of the same activities as US users do – online purchasing remains minuscule.
Given that “Canucks love the web”:http://www.onedegree.ca/2005/08/09/canucks-love-the-web and some of us are spending more time online than we are with other forms of media – what gives?
The eMarketer report promises to tell us, among other things, “what is holding Canada’s online retail market back, why Canadians shop online – but don’t buy, and the single most important thing Canada’s retail e-commerce sector must do.”
* We still want to go out and shop because in the winter, it’s the only excuse we have to get outside on a regular basis
* Our malls aren’t nearly as crowded, and we like to wait in line
* We’re pragmatists who believe in the tangible, and are really, really big on instant gratification
* We’re a naturally suspicious, faithless nation and haven’t quite gotten our heads around the ‘click and it will come’ idea
_Jennifer Evans is President of “Sequentia Communications”:http://www.sequentia.net, a Toronto-based marketing and public relations firm that specializes in helping companies acquire and retain customers through community building._