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Online Shoppers in Canada Identified as a Top Target for U.S. Retailers

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U.S. retailers seeking to grow business with online shoppers across country borders should look to Canada, according to a report released today from Borderfree, a market leader in international cross-border ecommerce solutions.

The report, part of Borderfree’s series of intelligence pieces on high-interest markets for ecommerce, points to Canada as a top market for retailers to tap into due to Canadians’ frequent tourism to the U.S. and familiarity with U.S. stores, brands and shopping experiences. More than 23 million Canadians visit the U.S. each year, driving demand for U.S. goods, inexpensive shipping and relatively low import duties when they return home1. Canada is the largest cross-border online market for U.S. retailers today presenting a healthy opportunity for international expansion, and was Borderfree’s number one market for cross-border sales from U.S. retailers in 2013.

“Canadians know U.S. brands well and shop them frequently,” said Michael DeSimone, Chief Executive Officer, Borderfree. “Between the country’s high Internet, mobile and social media penetration and an affluent population ready to spend, U.S. retailers looking to sell online to our neighbors to the north will find a ripe ecommerce marketplace. We’ve also found that targeted marketing efforts in Canada reap big rewards, as evidenced by the most the recent holiday shopping season, where U.S. retailers saw significant online demand from Canadian shoppers.”

During the holiday season, Borderfree data showed that Canadian shoppers spent on average 34 percent more daily than they did during a typical shopping day during the rest of the year, with a fivefold increase on Black Friday. Other peak shopping days included Cyber Monday and Boxing Day with women’s clothing, luxury goods and home goods selling as the top categories.

Getting to know the Canadian shopper

Key to successfully targeting the Canadian market is understanding its demographics and shoppers’ unique preferences. Borderfree’s data paints a picture of the average online Canadian shopper and how they like to shop:

  • The vast majority of shoppers are women (85 percent), at a median age of 41.7 years
  • Canadians who shopped with retailers on the Borderfree platform spent an average of $136 U.S. dollars (USD) each last year
  • Canadians are night owl shoppers, spending big around 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. and peaking between 11:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m., especially on Friday nights where spending takes a major spike up at 11:00 p.m.

Additional data compiled in Borderfree’s report show Canadians are connected and ready to spend:

  • 79 percent of the population uses the Internet2
  • Retail ecommerce sales in Canada reached $21.6 billion in 2013 and are expected to rise to $42.7 billion by 2018, an annual growth rate of 12 percent3
  • 45 percent of Canadian online shopping goes to U.S. and international sites (a third to the U.S.), with average annual purchasing approaching nearly $1,100 per shopper4

Borderfree developed the Borderfree Index (BFI), a proprietary quantitative and qualitative measure to provide an indication of a market’s relative cross-border ecommerce attractiveness. Canada scored five out of five possible “shopping carts” on the BFI, indicating that it is an “ideal market” for cross-border ecommerce.

To access the full report on ecommerce in Canada, click here:

About the Borderfree Index

The Borderfree Index (BFI) is a proprietary quantitative and qualitative measure established by Borderfree to provide an indication of a market’s relative B2C cross-border ecommerce attractiveness (subject to fluctuate over time). The BFI is a composite score based on the following five criteria:

  • Consumer appetite for purchasing cross-border
  • Household income and purchasing power
  • Relative currency strength and forecast
  • Import friendliness and ease
  • Forecasted market growth & performance trends

About Borderfree

Borderfree is a market leader in global ecommerce solutions, operating a technology and services platform that the world’s most iconic brands rely on to expand globally and transact with customers in more than 100 countries and territories and more than 60 currencies worldwide. Borderfree manages all aspects of the international shopping experience, including site localization, multi-currency pricing, payment processing, fraud management, landed cost calculation, customs clearance and brokerage and global logistics services while maintaining the integrity of our customers’ brand and the consumer experience. Borderfree is headquartered in New York City with offices in Tel Aviv, Toronto, Dublin, Brighton and Shanghai. The company trades on the NASDAQ under the symbol BRDR. For more information, visit


1 U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, retrieved from

2 eMarketer 2014

3 eMarketer, 2014

4 eMarketer, 2014

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