Stats Can missing online sales

A recent report from Statistics Canada wildly underestimates the value of online purchasing by Canadian businesses in 2001, according to an IDC Canada Ltd. analyst.

Joe Greene

says that while Stats Can figures for business-to-consumer e-commerce — $2.3 billion — closely reflect IDC’s numbers, the estimates for B2B sales are as little as one third of IDC’s estimates. Stats Can put the B2B figure at $8.1 billion.

Greene points to two factors he says are skewing the numbers. The sales figures are based on the proportion of operating revenue companies received through e-commerce in 2001. Instead, surveyors should have asked companies explicitly how much they spent electronically, since there are two to two-and-a-half times more businesses buying online than selling online.

“”It’s easier to buy online than it is to sell online,”” Greene says.

Also, the survey ignored the many Canadian companies with less than $250,000 in annual revenue. Stats Can-surveyed companies averaged 0.5 per cent of operating revenues. Greene says small and medium businesses made six to seven per cent of their B2B purchases online.

“”They’re missing a huge proportion of the market,”” Greene says.

Other report highlights:

  • Big business is still the big player in e-commerce. But smaller companies are catching up. Companies with 500-plus employees accounted for 40 per cent of online sales in 2001, down from 43 per cent in 2000.
  • Export sales over the Internet more than doubled in value to $2.7 billion from $1.2 billion in 2000.
  • The number of businesses buying over the Net continued to increase. Twenty-two per cent of companies bought goods or services online, up from 18 per cent in 2000 and 14 per cent in 1999. Those companies accounted for almost half of all business income in Canada.

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Dave Webb
Dave Webb
Dave Webb is a technology journalist with more than 15 years' experience. He has edited numerous technology publications including Network World Canada, ComputerWorld Canada, Computing Canada and eBusiness Journal. He now runs content development shop Dweeb Media.

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