The New Shape of Local Commerce in Canada

by Digital Main Street   |   March 16, 2021   |   Share this:  

Buyers and Sellers Find Ways to Connect When They Can’t Get Close

What a difference a year makes. As we’ve become more distanced in our daily lives, we’ve become more digital to stay connected. New data from payments company Square reveals the new ways Canadians are buying from local businesses one year into the pandemic.


  • Canadians have all kinds of ways to buy at a distance now. In fact, two-out-of-three local businesses (61%) in Canada are selling online, putting Canada well ahead of the percentage of local businesses selling online in the UK (55%), the U.S. (47%), Australia (32%) and Japan (21%). Saskatoon leads all major Canadian cities, with 85% of businesses now selling online. 


  • Canadians' use of cash has dropped by almost half. Around 22% of local business purchases are paid with cash today, compared with 39% before the pandemic. Saskatoon leads all major Canadian cities again, this time in terms of moving away from cash transactions. Bills and coins only account for 11% of purchases at local businesses in the “City of Bridges”.


  • Canadians are now 3.5 times more likely to visit a local business that is cashless. Around one-in-five local businesses no longer accept cash, compared to 1-in-20 this time last year.


For more local commerce insights from Square, see the full report here.

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