Between 2014 and 2019, Canadian online retail sales are expected to grow from $22.3 billion to $39.9 billion, a compound annual growth rate nearly five times that of traditional retail. For Canadian businesses, however, even greater opportunities lie in global e-tail markets, which are expected to expand nearly 80% over the next three years.

Smaller companies are particularly well-suited to tap into that growth, thanks to low-cost technologies that allow firms of all sizes to trade directly with buyers. Studies suggest so-called “technology-enabled trade” has an impact similar to that of trade liberalization, a welcome counter to recent rumblings of protectionism.

“Technology is transforming the face of global trade as a new parallel model is emerging,” eBay policy staffers Usman Ahmed and Hanne Melin wrote recently. “The key enabling factors are increased information flows, connectivity and trust to engage in online transactions.”

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Sources: Forrester Research Inc., eMarketer Inc., Remarkety Inc., Deloitte, Canada Post Inc., Business Development Bank of Canada, PayPal, eBay Inc., HypeStat, Global Express Association

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