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E-commerce sales climb 19.9% in 2016, Statistics Canada reports

 26 March 2018     Michael J. Knell 

OTTAWA – Canadian furniture and home furnishings store saw their e-commerce sales climb 19.9% to $375.8 million in 2016, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada. The estimates were reported as part of the agency’s Annual Retail Trade report.

In this particular study, Statistics Canada doesn’t report the figures for furniture stores separately from home furnishings stores. It also doesn’t include sales by ‘pure play’ e-commerce furniture and mattress vendors such as Endy, Casper, Article and Wayfair, among others.

E-commerce represented 2% of total sales by furniture and home furnishings stores, which totalled $18.7 billion in 2016 – up from 1.7% of total sales in 2015.

At $375.6 million, total e-commerce sales were up 19.9% over $313.4 million rung-up collectively in the prior year. E-commerce sales by furniture and home furnishings stores have practically quadruped since the agency first began tracking them in 2012.

E-commerce is also the fastest growing segment in the furniture retail sector. Combined furniture and home furnishings store sales were $18.7 billion in 2016, up 3.6% over the prior year.

It is also difficult to identify the leaders in furniture and furnishing e-commerce. For example, Leon’s Furniture Limited, the publicly held parent of Leon’s and The Brick doesn’t report e-commerce sales separately from revenue derived from its brick-and-mortar stores. It also doesn’t report the sales of its furniture.ca web site separately.

This is also true of the other publicly-held retailers including Sleep Country Canada, GoEasy – the parent of leasing specialist Easyhome – and BMTC Group. E-commerce sales by IKEA Canada are believed to have grown substantially from the $100 million or so the Burlington-based subsidiary of the world-wide IKEA Group reported in 2015, when it announced an ambitious expansion plan designed to double both top line sales and store count over the following decade. However, it’s not known how much of that $100 million represents sales of furniture and other furnishings.

E-commerce has also been the shining store for Canada’s electronics and appliance stores. Growth in top line revenues has been choppy over the past five years, but their online stores have turned in excellent performances by comparison.

E-commerce generated sales of $732.9 million in 2016 – up 17.7% over the prior year’s $622.5 million. They also accounted for 4.6% of all electronic and appliance store sales, up from 4% of sales in 2016.

Total sales for purveyors of brown and white goods stood at $15.8 billion in 2016, up 2.5% over the prior and ending a three-year slide in sales.

Total retail sales in 2016 were $595.1 billion – up 3.8% year-over-year. E-commerce sales by location-based retailers totalled $14.2 billion that year, up 17.5% from 2015 and accounting for 2.4% of all sales.

As mentioned, Statistics Canada’s Annual Retail Survey doesn’t include sales by the online giants serving the Canadian market, such as Amazon, which is believed to have sold approximately US$30 million in furniture and mattresses in Canada during the first half of 2017. It also doesn’t include Wayfair, whose Boston-based parent doesn’t report sales in Canada separately. Instead, it includes Canada in its ‘international’ segment, which also includes Germany and United Kingdom.

Related Story: Amazon furniture sales hit US$30 million YTD in Canada


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This HGO article was written by:
Michael J. Knell
Michael J. Knell

Michael is the publisher and editor of Home Goods Online. A seasoned business journalist, he has researched and written about the furniture, mattress and major appliance industries in both Canada and the United States for the past three decades.


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