U.S. shoppers may not be streaming across the border in huge numbers yet, but there’s been a “significant” rise in cross-border clicks at Canadian online shops, new data shows.
Fresh figures from PayPal and eBay show that transactions coming from the United States to Canadian e-commerce stores have popped in recent months, evidence that U.S. shoppers have started taking advantage of the loonie’s tumble against the U.S. dollar.
Online marketplace eBay says it has witnessed strong double-digit growth in U.S. sales across several categories of merchandise in the latest three-month stretch compared to a year earlier, when the Canadian dollar was hovering around 88 cents U.S. compared to the 75-cent level the loonie was trading at at the turn of the year.
“We’ve seen a significant increase in sales to the U.S. by Canadian eBay sellers,” Andrea Stairs, managing director of eBay Canada, said in an emailed statement.
U.S. shoppers using PayPal to buy goods and services on Canadian websites jumped 20 percent in 2015 from the year before, data from the payment processer showed.
Still a deal
The fact that U.S. shoppers are turning to Canadian websites to score deals is a stark reflection of how far the loonie has fallen over the past couple of years. The U.S. has one of the lowest percentages of online shoppers who buy from websites abroad, according to eMarketer, a market research firm.
Products mailed into the United States face more stringent rules than products bought domestically, and are usually subject to examination from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Extra duties and bank processing fees also often apply.
Despite those challenges, U.S. shoppers are expected to increase the spending on Canadian websites this year to $4.72 billion, a rise of 10 per cent from last year according to a report from PayPal and Ipsos.
Canadian retailers who sell through eBay are also expecting to see a lift.
A survey of eBay sellers in Canada conducted between the end of January and start of last month showed more than half (52 per cent) expect to the lower loonie to boost sales this year.