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Shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic led to a surge in online buying, and many Canadian retailers say the crisis has significantly accelerated their plans for e-commerce development. But the biggest beneficiary is not a Canadian retailer.

Nearly 80 per cent of people reported buying something from Amazon in the past six months, according to a July survey of 1,350 Canadians by Toronto-based firm Solutions Research Group. That was far ahead of other retailers including Walmart, Costco and Canadian Tire.

But one area where Amazon has not yet built a large presence in Canada is in online grocery shopping, which has grown substantially in recent months. Nearly half of those surveyed said they have bought groceries online in the past six months. Families with children were the biggest online grocery shoppers, with 57 per cent saying they had bought in the past six months, and 47 per cent in the past month.

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The big question for many retailers is whether these habits will stick as the economy reopens, and as consumers feel safe venturing out once again.

“Among those who ordered groceries online, 53 per cent said this would be something they would continue to do ‘long after the pandemic is over,’ ” said Solutions Research president Kaan Yigit. “My take is, there will be a softening of these grocery numbers as things open up ... but even then, you’d better find another business to be in unless you are prepared to deliver to the consumer’s door, if that’s what they want.”




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