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Tim Berners-Lee, one of the inventors of the World Wide Web, recently said during a ceremony celebrating its 20th anniversary (The Associated Press, 2009).
See Gault (2006).
Statistics Canada is currently redesigning the CIUS for 2010 to help assess Industry Canada's Broadband Canada: Connecting Rural Canadians program.
In 2007 Canada ranked 16th, above the OECD member average, for individuals who purchased goods or services online. The top three countries were Japan, Norway and the United Kingdom with the United States ranked 11th (OECD, 2008).
For example, the growth rate in orders from 2003 to 2005 may be artificially high. With a household survey in 2003 using proxy reporting for all members, there may be some under-reporting of orders made by other household members. Conversely with an individual survey in 2005, there is perhaps some over-reporting of joint household purchases, such as family vacations, made by one member.
From below 80 cents in May of 2005, the Canadian dollar was near par with the American dollar for much of 2007( However, a Statistics Canada study on cross-border shopping (Roy, 2007) observed that, whether measured by the number of same-day auto trips across the border, the average amount spent on these trips or online shopping, or by the amount spent online shopping, increases were minimal relative to retail sales. The study uses low-value shipments to Canada by couriers as a proxy for receiving a product ordered online, which includes business demand and excludes digitally delivered products.
According to the 2007 CIUS, less than one-third (32%) of Internet users who were very concerned about online credit card use reported making an online purchase, compared to 60% who were less concerned.
For example, in January 2009 the Canadian Tire Corporation stopped selling its merchandise online as a cost cutting measure. The company felt that the site was primarily being used as a research tool by customers and not making enough money to justify the expense (Shaw, 2009).
The expenditure quartiles were defined by assigning those reporting $500 into the second and third quartiles in a random fashion. Also, the 'top quartile' represents slightly less than 25% of the online buyers.
The top (quartile) online consumers had an average household income of $122,000 and 45% had a university degree (compared to an average household income of $90,000 and 31% with a university degree for the remaining 75% of online consumers).
In 2007, almost 1.2 million Canadians (6% of Internet users) used the Internet for personal reasons but not from home. These non-home users were asked questions about e-commerce but not about frequency, duration or specific uses. On average they made about 5 orders online worth $827 but accounted for less than 2% of the total number and value of orders.
This study used the CIUS to examine differences in household online purchases by speed of connection but did not consider data on "window shopping".
As Middleton and Ellison (2008) assert, those who have the knowledge and experience gain the most benefit from the Internet while those who lack the skills, knowledge and self-confidence may be left further behind.
More than four of five online shoppers reported using a credit card for some of their online purchases in 2007 but about one-third of Canadians aged 16 and 17 did not have a credit card.
With more emphasis on cost savings by both businesses and consumers, this may serve to encourage online selling in some product categories and discourage it in others. For example, Ker (2009) finds that Canadians were spending more of their retail dollar during 2008 on frequently purchased goods such as food and beverages as well as fuels but less on big ticket items.