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E-commerce Dynamics in North America: Exploring USA and Canada

Global e-commerce sales are forecasted to achieve US $58.74 trillion by 2028, with an anticipated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.55% from 2022 to 2028. In 2023, it is anticipated that e-commerce will comprise 22.3% of total retail sales. North America, being a highly developed and technologically advanced region, is well-positioned to manage the surge in e-commerce adoption and expansion. The North American e-commerce market is expected to undergo a growth of 12.5% CAGR from 2022 to 2027.

How E-Commerce Developed in the Last Time

Before the pandemic, e-commerce in the US and Canada experienced steady growth driven by factors such as increasing internet penetration, technological advancements, shifting consumer preferences, and the expansion of online retail offerings by both established retailers and digital-native brands. The period leading up to the pandemic was marked by a gradual but consistent increase in online sales and the adoption of e-commerce as a preferred shopping method for many consumers.

During and after the pandemic, e-commerce in the US and Canada witnessed a significant acceleration and transformation. The pandemic served as a catalyst for rapid growth, as lockdowns and social distancing measures prompted a surge in online shopping. It led to an expansion of contactless delivery options, and a heightened focus on omnichannel retail strategies as traditional retailers sought to adapt to the changing landscape.

Total and e-commerce U.S. retail trade sales 2022
Total e-commerce value of U.S. retail trade sales from 2000 to 2022, according Statista

E-commerce in North America was already on an upward trajectory, but the events of the pandemic accelerated and reshaped the e-commerce landscape. This led to a more pronounced reliance on online shopping and the adoption of new e-commerce practices.

The Current E-Commerce State in North America

SaaS Solution for E-Commerce

The US and Canada are leading the e-commerce SaaS market. There is a growing trend of cloud-based software as a service in the region, with e-commerce companies incorporating these services into their business growth strategies. An example of this is the introduction of the Cadence on Cloud SaaS and e-commerce platform by Cadence Design Systems, a US multinational corporation. This platform, powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS), caters to businesses embracing a “cloud-first” approach, providing design and analysis solutions that are accessible from any device, anywhere.

SaaS solutions offer for:

  • Store Management (Ecwid, Shopify)
  • Express Service
  • Customer Service
  • Shipping Companies

Mergers and Acquisitions

Many regional companies are trending towards mergers and acquisitions to bolster their capacity in the e-commerce sector. Merger and acquisition (M&A) activity reached an all-time high in 2021, propelled by historically low interest rates and the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing initiative, which provided companies with abundant cash and accessible credit. Inflation reduced M&A and total value in 2022 amounted to $1.477 trillion. As an illustration, Descartes, a Canadian software-as-a-service solutions provider, recently revealed its acquisition of XPS Technologies, an e-commerce shipping solutions firm, for a sum of USD 65 million.

Largest US, Canada deals in 2022


During the period spanning from July 2022 to June 2023, North America emerged as the global leader in the crypto market, with approximately $1.2 trillion in on-chain value, as reported by Chainalysis. According to NBC News, around 21% of adult Americans have possessed cryptocurrency as of 2022. Over 15,000 businesses globally, including notable entities such as Microsoft, KFC, Burger King, and Subway, have embraced Bitcoin payments. Within the US, this accounts for 2,300 businesses.

New Payment Solutions

The e-commerce platform not only offers customers a wide range of purchasing options across various sectors, but it also presents them with financial incentives through cashback schemes, allowing for cost savings at scale. For instance, Rakuten Rewards Canada, a leading shopping site offering Cash Back and rewards, has introduced an innovative initiative enabling Canadians to earn Cash Back when engaging in real estate transactions. Through Rakuten’s approved partners, Canadian homebuyers can receive up to USD 25 Cash Back for every USD 10,000 of finalized real estate transaction value in the initial phase of the Make Your Move program.

Rakuten Cashbach program
Rakuten Cashback program

Fashion merchants noticed the most significant impact on overall business after introducing alternative payment options. The most popular options are “Buy Now, Pay Later” and “Buy Online, Pick Up In Store.”

Mobile Commerce

In 2022, the mobile commerce market in North America accounted for approximately 37% of the business share. The growth of educational STEM toy startups is contributing to the expansion of the regional market. North America’s thriving market is attributed to its advanced digital infrastructure and consumers’ strong preference for convenience. Contributing factors in mCommerce are AR technology, one-click ordering, payment options, competitive pricing.

Category and Digital Penetration

In 2022, the clothing and footwear segment secured the largest market share, representing over 25%. The consumer electronics segment is anticipated to become the fastest-growing segment, with a projected CAGR of 16.4% from 2023 to 2030.

Market share in North America ecommerce
Market share in North America e-commerce

The Main Online Trading Drivers

Consumer interest in convenient shopping solutions. In the past, online shopping was primarily favored by millennials and Gen Z. However, the pandemic has made online retail more appealing to consumers of all ages. Now, individuals of all age groups are increasingly opting for home delivery, appreciating the convenience, reliability, wide-ranging choices, and flexibility it offers.

Mobile shopping and social commerce

Sprout Social’s shopping report revealed that 98% of consumers intended to make at least one purchase through social shopping or influencer commerce in 2022, and this trend shows no sign of slowing down. If you haven’t begun selling on social media, it’s highly likely that your competitors already have or are intending to do so.

Mobile shopping intersects with other popular e-commerce features such as live stream shopping, augmented reality shopping, and in-app purchases, and it is projected that its usage will increase in 2023.

Fulfilment and delivery

58% of Canadian consumers indicated that the speed of delivery influences their purchases, while 46% mentioned being motivated by the expected delivery date provided by the retailer. Studies have shown that a majority of consumers consider the speed of delivery and the anticipated delivery date as influential factors in their purchasing decisions. Furthermore, as the e-commerce landscape becomes increasingly competitive, offering fast and reliable fulfillment and delivery services can serve as a significant differentiator for businesses, contributing to customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Subscription payment models

Businesses are increasingly embracing subscription models to attract and retain loyal customers, aiming to enhance profitability and improve retention rates. The popularity of subscriptions and memberships is growing in response to economic volatility and inflation.

In the B2C sector, brands are promoting subscription plans as a means to save money, with some offering lifetime price guarantees as an incentive for registration. Additionally, exclusive membership communities, such as Fabletics and Lululemon, are gaining prominence. These models leverage the fear of missing out (FOMO), providing members with VIP-style treatment and exclusive access to products, events, and more.

Government support

In recent years, global trade and shipping activities have seen a surge due to cross-border shipment agreements and trade liberalization policies. A notable example is the Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), reflecting the trend of increasing multilateral free-trade agreements. Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are playing a significant role in escalating the demand for international e-commerce transportation.

Additionally, bilateral free-trade agreements such as the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and Canada are impacting the demand for cross-border e-commerce services. These developments are anticipated to create additional trade opportunities in the upcoming years, thereby stimulating the e-commerce fulfillment services market in the region.

New technologies in shopping experience

More pragmatic applications of AI in customer service are beginning to surface. Although not all AI implementations have been successful, businesses have leveraged AI to generate responses for practical customer care interactions such as tracking item statuses. The use of AI is anticipated to enhance efficiencies as customer journeys are expected to grow increasingly intricate in the future.

“Try before you buy” undergoes a transformative shift with the advent of augmented reality (AR) commerce, employing 3D mapping to enable customers to test products or preview experiences before committing to a purchase. AR has significantly reshaped various industries, particularly in fashion, beauty, and home decor, by placing the product or service directly at the customer’s fingertips. Brands actively use VR/AR/XR.

Voice searching: with a significant and growing number of individuals using voice-enabled devices such as smartphones, smart speakers, and virtual assistants to perform online searches, access information, and execute commands. The convenience and hands-free nature of voice search have contributed to its widespread adoption, with many users leveraging this technology for tasks ranging from searching for information, making queries, and even initiating online purchases.

Holidays driving consumption

Holiday sales play a critical role in U.S. and Canada online commerce as they often drive a substantial portion of annual revenue for many businesses. These sales events, such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holiday season as a whole, present an opportunity for retailers to attract a surge in online shoppers, capitalize on consumer spending trends, and boost their sales figures.

Amazon, Target, Macy’s hire workers for the holiday shopping season in stores and warehouses. Amazon has announced its intention to recruit 250,000 U.S. employees for the holiday shopping season, marking a 67% increase from its hiring numbers over the previous two years. This move reflects the company’s efforts to enhance next-day delivery services for its customers.

The major holidays that have impact on consumer behavior:

Ecommerce in the US Overview

The United States occupies the second position in the global e-commerce market, with online sales totaling $875 billion, constituting 14.83% of the market. Leading e-commerce players such as Amazon, eBay, and Walmart have emerged as key industry frontrunners, offering consumers an extensive array of products and services.

A critical contributing factor to the success of e-commerce in the US is the notably high internet penetration rate, which stood at 91.8% in 2023. This signifies that over 311 million Americans have access to online shopping platforms, facilitating easy comparison of prices, reviews, and features across various products.

Amazon dominates the e-retail landscape in the U.S., holding the largest share of the online shopping market and surpassing competitors in e-retail sales. In 2021, Amazon notably outpaced its U.S. counterparts, with retail e-commerce sales in the country reaching an impressive 386 billion U.S. dollars. Other notable successful online shopping platforms include eBay, Walmart, Target, and Apple.
While the market is diverse and offers products across various sectors, certain categories have seen particularly high demand. These include food, pet supplies, baby products, clothing, and accessories.

Market share of leading retail e-commerce companies
Market share of leading retail e-commerce companies in the United States as of 2022

In the United States, 96.9 million individuals are engaged in shopping through social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram. This behavior has become commonplace, and it is projected that the number of social buyers will rise to 114.3 million, signifying an 18% increase.

Ecommerce in Canada Overview

Canada is positioned as the 9th largest eCommerce market globally, and it is forecasted to generate approximately US $55,145.2 million in revenue by 2023, surpassing Italy in this aspect. The projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR 2023-2027) stands at 10.6%, with an estimated market volume of US $82,449.8 million by 2027. In 2023, the Canadian eCommerce market is anticipated to contribute to a 10.9% increase, aligning with the global growth rate of 9.6% for the same year. Concurrently, worldwide eCommerce sales are expected to elevate in the coming years.

According to Statista, the number of digital buyers in Canada is projected to reach over 26 million by 2024, indicating a substantial portion of the population engaging in online shopping.

Among the eCommerce segments in Canada, Toys, Hobby & DIY commands the largest market share, constituting 25% of the Canadian eCommerce revenue. Following closely is Fashion, accounting for 22.4%, followed by Electronics & Media at 19.9%, and Food & Personal Care at 18.2%. The remaining 14.4% is attributed to Furniture & Appliances.

Top online stores Canada 2022 _ Statista
Top-5 online stores in Canada are headed Amazon, Walmart, Costco, according by Statista data

A majority of Canadian online shoppers, approximately 59%, opt to use credit cards for their online transactions, while an additional 20% utilize PayPal. Furthermore, there is a steady surge in the adoption of digital wallets, anticipated to represent about 27% of online payments by 2025.

Canada’s eCommerce infrastructure is notably advanced and intricately linked with that of the United States. The widespread availability of broadband internet access throughout Canada, often leveraging similar equipment as in the United States, further supports this integration. U.S. companies have the option to seamlessly incorporate Canadian transactions into their existing websites without the need for a separate platform.

News From the Main Market Players

The slowdown in subscriber additions following the pandemic has prompted businesses to modify their terms and conditions. In an effort to increase subscriptions, Netflix has discontinued its standard commercial-free plan in the U.S. and UK, while Disney has hiked prices for its ad-free tiers. In the upcoming year, Amazon Prime Video is set to follow its streaming competitors by implementing ad rollouts and introducing a premium ad-free tier at a higher price.

Amazon, the worldwide e-commerce giant, has revealed its intention to launch its online shopping platform in South Africa by 2024. This decision represents a substantial penetration into a market that has been primarily dominated by Naspers’ TakeAlot.

Amazon and Shopify have reached an agreement enabling merchants who utilize Shopify’s ecommerce tools to leverage Amazon’s logistics network. Amazon asserts that this integration boosts shoppers’ confidence in making purchases from unfamiliar brands or websites due to the trust associated with the Amazon experience.


Walmart intends to introduce over 25 healthcare centers to certain stores next year, further expanding its provision of primary care and additional services. These new centers will be integrated into Walmart Supercenters, delivering primary and dental care, behavioral health, audiology support, and various other services. Presently, Walmart operates 32 centers and will incorporate 17 more in Florida this year.


eBay invested in AI to grow GMV. The Magical Listing tool assists sellers in creating detailed and compelling product listings. By leveraging AI capabilities, this tool aims to streamline the listing process, improve the quality of product descriptions, and enhance the overall selling experience for eBay users.

Michaels MakerPlace

Michaels has recently debuted MakerPlace, an online marketplace designed to cater to DIY enthusiasts and creators. With a focus on handcrafted products and unique artisanal items, MakerPlace provides a platform for sellers to showcase and sell their creations without any listing fees, positioning itself as a competitive player against established platforms like Etsy.

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Nataly Komonova , Cart-Power Editor
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