Canadians increased online shopping spend by more than $2B per month compared to pre-pandemic
PayPal Canada survey reveals 59 per cent of Canadians have boosted their online shopping habits compared to before the pandemic.


TORONTO, June 23, 2021 – Even as Canadians emerge from lockdown, the shift to online shopping is dominating consumer trends. A new survey from PayPal Canada shows Canadians have overall increased their monthly online shopping spend by more than $2 billion compared to pre-pandemic.

The survey, titled Trends & Spends: PayPal Canada’s 2021 Consumer Shopping Study, found on average Canadians who responded are spending $178 per month shopping online, an increase of $69 compared to pre-pandemic. Across the country, this translates to almost $5.5B in current monthly online spending and an overall increase of over $2B in monthly online spending.[i]

Online grocery shopping surge

When looking at where people were choosing to spend their money online, the survey noted a significant jump in online grocery shopping. An initial survey of Canadian consumers in March 2020 found that only 19 per cent engaged in online grocery shopping. In a second survey conducted in April 2020, only 30 per cent of Canadians purchased groceries online[i]. Today, our most recent survey shows that number has jumped to 49 per cent.

In looking at who’s filling up the cart, Canadian women surveyed are more likely than men to have increased how often they're shopping online groceries (36 per cent versus men at 26 per cent). By location, Ontarians are the ones who are more likely than others to have increased how often they're shopping for groceries online (36 per cent compared to 24-30 per cent in other provinces.)

It’s not just the grocery industry that has experienced a surge in ecommerce. Online spend grew in almost every vertical, including:

  • Home office furnishings and equipment (56 per cent), up from 42 per cent in April 2020
  • Fitness equipment, apps, or programs (41 per cent), up from 25 per cent in April 2020
  • School supplies (38 per cent), up from 23 per cent in April 2020

“Last year in April, only 44 per cent told us they anticipated shopping online more than what they were already doing. Today, that number is 59 per cent,” said Jill Cress, PayPal Vice-President, Consumer Marketing. “Looking back at how overwhelmed we were at the challenges of finding toilet paper and hand sanitizers in store last year it’s great to see that just one year later, we are turning to ecommerce for all of our needs and the data shows this shift is here to stay.”

Reinventing the future of shopping

As key industries expand their presence online, consumers believe the digital economy will become a prevalent part of daily life. Three in five Canadians (61 per cent) surveyed say they believe that cashless transactions will be part of their typical shopping experience and one in four (28 per cent) say they don’t expect to use cash five years from now at all. Thirty-eight per cent said PayPal was their preferred online method of payment. 

Infograph showing change in online spending.

  • Shipping and delivery fears: For half of Canadians, the main deterrents to online shopping are the shipping cost (53 per cent) and the delivery time (51 per cent), as well as a preference to pick out their own products in person (50 per cent).
  • Secure solutions: One in five Canadians (19 per cent) say they are held back from online shopping because they are worried about safely transacting online.

For more data on Canadian consumer habits, please find the full study attached at the bottom of this page.

Survey Methodology

An omnibus survey was conducted among a sample of 1,528 nationally representative Canadian adults between April 21 and 23, 2021, in collaboration with Angus Reid. The poll is accurate to within +/- 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians been polled.

About PayPal

PayPal has remained at the forefront of the digital payment revolution for more than 20 years. By leveraging technology to make financial services and commerce more convenient, affordable, and secure, the PayPal platform is empowering more than 392 million consumers and merchants in more than 200 markets to join and thrive in the global economy. For more information, visit

For further information: Sandie Benitah, PayPal Canada,; Samantha Jen, Edelman Canada,


[i] The following calculation was used: Canadian adult population is 30,754,887. For current spending, population x 178 monthly spend = $5.47B. For increase in spending, population x 69 monthly increase = $2.12B


Download the full consumer study results here.
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